Many see religion as a pattern of observances, and indeed there are those sorts of things in most Christian traditions. There are variation among Christian communities as to these observances, which is probably what would be expected as many of these traditions developed in diferent societies before Christianity was legal. Many Evangelicals say they strive to have a lived religion rather than an observed religion. The remnants of the Western Liturgical calendar survive in most all Western Christian traditions if for no other reason than the fact that Christmas, at least, is a legal holiday in most western countries. Not being raised in a liturgical tradition, I had problems when confronted with liturgical things, including the church calendar, until I learned to think them as teaching tools. We can look at the liturgical year as an overall outline of the Christian message. Hopefully this will become clear as this section is completed.

The danger, of course, is that sometimes the tools become so complicated that they produce more confusion than help. Sometimes the tool becomes an end in itself. It is at that point that Christianity does become a pattern of observances and we begin to study how to observe rather than what is being observed. This is a danger, but it is perhaps more a distraction, because the message of the gospel is found in the observances of the various Church calendars. The study of these calendars turned out to be more complex than I had thought extending even to the notion of the calendar itself.  I now find that what started out as one thing has become quite another. Now one could honestly question whether this section is about the calendars of various churches or calendars generally.

It turns out to be difficult to separate the liturgical calendar from the calendar generally, especially in the Christian West. That is probably why there are far to many words about calendars as a topic here. This rabbit trail, does, however, shows that man has had a hard time counting the days and seasons for some time. It also shows how deeply the times and the seasons become coupled to the secular society. Or perhaps we see that controlling the calendar gives those controlling it a certain amount of power. All of these are distractions from the Christian message but may be worthwhile observations because of the fight we seem to have between the outward and visible; and the inward and spiritual.

Because Easter is a movable feast (see When is Easter?) that should occur in spring (around the Jewish Passover), the Christian liturgical year is tied to the Jewish calendar, sort of. That is why there is a section of the Jewish calendar here. Revisions to our calendar have been made in part to help adjust Easter. Julius Caesar of the Julian calendar fame did not care about Easter (his calendar is from 45 BC by our reconng some 70 years before there was an Easter to care about) but Pope Gregory, of the Gregorian calendar, did care about Easter and that was at least part of the reason for his revision of the calendar--to keep Easter from drifting out of spring.

There is still something of an ongoing debate about Easter as the Orthodox Church celebrates it at a different time. That is more a calendar issue as the Gregorian calendar was from 1582 which is after the east-west schism of 1050. For the first 300 years or so of Christianity what we now call Easter was celebrated on Passover and indeed it is called Pascha on the Eastern Orthodox calendar to this day. Moving Easter to Sunday was not without contraversary (see Quartodecimine Contraversary.)

The other observation that I would make is that if there is a pattern of observance that is supported biblically it would be the Jewish cycle of feasts. Which is another reason to study the Jewish Calendar. It is becoming popular in Evangelical circles to look at the prophetic nature of the Jewish calendar and I have made an attempt to do that here. (To the Jew, prophecy is more pattern than prediction.)

The more pragmatic reason for this section is here is that much of it is based on the sweepings from the research that supports the Easter page. All of this reminds me of an engineering professor I had once who was fond of saying "we never want to let confusion go to waste." (He would say that after a particularly arduous lecture.) It is possible that my "confusion" has settled here. Hopefully this is not that bad. The Easter page was meant to be whimsically confusing. A literary genre that I would venture did not make your English teacher's list. At any rate the general calendar material is meant to clarify or at least restate the problem of calendars.