Contingent upon a favourable position of the moon, a unique alignment is going to happen this friday. Holi, Good Friday and Id Milad all occur on the same day. I’m not able to recall the last occasion when festivals of three very different religions, which follow vastly different calendars occur on the same day.

I’m curious to know that kind of calendar Christians follow. I know it has to be Gregorian, since Gregory was a Pope, but how is the occrrence of Good Friday/Easter determined? Clearly, the date varies every year due ot the day of week constraint. And I haven’t really observed any “nth friday/nth sunday” of the year kind of a situation also. There has to be some other funda, given that it’s clearly not lunar also.

The structure of the Moslem calendar (12 lunar months a “year”) gives a kind of indication regarding the lifestyle of the people around the time the calendar was formulated (around the end of the first millenium CE). The fact that the Moslem year consists of 354 days on an average means that the calendar “moves around the year” if we look at it from a Gregorian frame of reference. This means that not too many activities of the Arabs (who, I guess, formulated this calendar) were particularly dependent on seasons. The structure of the calendar suggests that agriculture didn’t exist in Arabia around the time the Moslem calendar was made. If it did, I’m sure it would’ve happened in a particular season, and care would’ve been taken to capture this in the calendar.

I also wonder if there is a kind of a 3-year cycle to the monsoon. This, I wonder, looking at the Indian calendar – which consists of 37 lunar months for every three years. The Indian calendar is definitely seasonal – most festivals have a particular seasonal significance, and there are also a number of harvest festivals (though I must mention that a few harvest festivals such as Pongal or Baisakhi are based on solar calendars). However, there are certain beliefs tied to festivals – for eg. it must always rain on holi; or that the winter ends with Shivaratri – make me believe that the 37-month-in-3-years lunar calendar is a better predictor of climate in India than any solar calendar. Which again makes me wonder if the monsoons have a 3 year cycle.

A quick calculation reveals that Id Milad and Holi have to occur on the same day once every 36 years (both are full-moon festivals). However, I wonder if on any earlier occasion they occured on Good Friday!

Anyways, here’s wishing all of you a nice long weekend.

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