EVERY December I buy the same type of thin pocket diary, and every New Year’s Day I fill in the details.

There are spaces for name, address, phone number, email and blood group. The next thing I do is look up Easter and plan my time off accordingly.

Unlike Christmas, St Valentine’s Day and April Fools’ Day, Easter is a movable feast, and shifts around confusingly ­— in mysterious ways, you might say.

A little Irish history might again be permissible here, and serve to demonstrate the point. The Easter Rising of 1916 took place on April 24 and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was cemented on April 10.

Not everyone will feel inclined to commemorate them, but if they did, would they do so according to the date in the calendar or according to their proximity to Easter Sunday?

Easter in the western churches can fall anywhere between March 24 and April 25. But members of the eastern orthodox churches will have to wait until May 2 this year for theirs.

I once tried reading about how the dates are chosen. But by the time I came across phrases like “Paschal full moon”, “vernal equinox” and “Gregorian calendar” my mind had glazed over. I’ll leave it to the diary printers to figure it out.

Almost everybody looks forward to two days off at Easter, whatever their religious beliefs or lack of them.

If you’re off work on both Good Friday and Easter Monday then you have two four-day working weeks with four days off sandwiched between them.

And those like me who aren’t restricted by school holidays may choose not to take their time off now, when the working week is shorter anyway.

But wouldn’t it make life a lot simpler for everyone if Easter always fell at the same time? If we have to have a Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, then couldn’t they be at a more fixable date?

The first weekend in April, where they are this year, would do nicely. Spring is just emerging, the clocks have just gone forward, and the evenings are instantly brighter.

School holidays at this time of year need to encompass Easter, and if it was always at roughly the same time then it would surely make planning the school year easier. It could make life a little more straightforward and predictable for all of us.

And I don’t see any religious objection for a more fixed Easter. After all, the early spring festival has a pre-Christian, pagan origin anyway.

The world Easter is derived from the name of the pagan goddess Eostre, who is associated with spring and fertility.

Eggs, representing new life, and rabbits, known for their extraordinary fertility, were always associated with the pagan ritual, long before chocolate manufacturers saw their potential.

And this is the case with many Christian festivals. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. If, as St Luke tells us, shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night, then it wouldn’t have been mid-winter.

Even in the Middle East it’s too cold for that, and the animals would have been indoors in sheds.

But pagans had long had a big celebration at around the winter solstice and reinventing it as Jesus’s birthday was an ideal way to persuade them to adopt Christianity. They could still have their big December party.

The origins of St Valentine’s Day also go back more than 2,000 years to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, celebrated from February 13 to 15.

It was still being celebrated long after the Romans adopted Christianity, so rather than banning, it they rebranded it as a Christian festival, with Saint Valentine being declared the patron saint of lovers.

Even the halo, surrounding the heads of Jesus and the saints, is an image from pagan sources. In Greek art it represented the sun god Helios, and Roman emperors, often worshipped as gods, were portrayed with a crown of rays around their heads.

If we want to celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus and we don’t know exactly when they took place, then does it matter what date in the year we choose? Couldn’t one be fixed for Easter?

I’ve noticed that any new idea that challenges a tradition is met with furious opposition, regardless of its merits. There are some people who think nothing should ever change, except our membership of the European Union.

But maybe it was always like this. No doubt anti-foreigner traditionalists of the pagan era didn’t like these new-fangled Middle Eastern religious symbols being attached to their home-grown festivals.