College of Arts and Sciences

Happy New Year!


Easter, the vernal equinox, the flowery bloom of new and renewed life all around, and — this year — the hopeful proliferation of vaccines.

Together they've inspired my decision to draw upon a medieval tradition to revise the college calendar. It was, you see, entirely acceptable in the Middle Ages for different kingdoms, different dioceses, even different cities to start their years at different times.  

As it happens, most chose dates right around now, either Easter itself or the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25). 

Sure, this could lead to baffling variation, as Reginald Poole explained back in 1921

If we suppose a traveller to set out from Venice on March 1, 1245, the first day of the Venetian year, he would find himself in 1244 when he reached Florence; and if after a short stay he went on to Pisa, the year 1246 would have already begun there. Continuing his journey westward, he would find himself again in 1245 when he entered Provence, and on arriving in France before Easter (April 16) he would be once more in 1244 (pp. 46-7).

Yet somehow the people of the Middle Ages managed to handle the confusion. Surely we can too.

So I propose that in CAS we retroactively relegate the past three months to the (long) pandemic year of 2020, and begin 2021 anew on Easter Sunday.* 

I look forward to wishing you a happy new year at the CAS College Meeting on Monday.

* Please consult your own tax advisor for the implications for your state and federal tax returns.

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