Easter is going to be late this year! Do you ever wonder how the date is decided? Well, let me tell you what I found with a little research.
Unlike Christmas, the date of Easter Sunday changes every year and can fall anytime between March 22nd and April 25th. Why is this you ask?
Because Easter Sunday is decided by complex calculations based on the moon. Early on in Christianity different churches used different methods. This led to disagreements that still exist today in some cultures.
Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus which according to the Bible happened around the same time as Jewish Passover. Passover typically begins the night of the first FULL moon AFTER the spring equinox (usually March 20th or 21st) EXCEPT in months when it is the SECOND full moon. This most recently occurred in 2016. The FULL moon can vary in each time zone so the Church calculates Easter from the 14th day of the ecclesiastic lunar month which is known as the paschal full moon. Easter is the Sunday that follows the paschal full moon that falls on or after the equinox so can be from 1-7 days later.
In 1818 the full moon fell on the equinox, Saturday March 21, so Easter was the next day, March 22. Easter will not be this early again until the year 2285. The earliest recent Easter was March 23 in 2008. In 1943 a full moon fell on March 20, just before the equinox, so the paschal full moon was the next one on April 18 which was a Sunday so Easter was seven days later on April 25. It will not be this late again until 2038. The latest recent Easter was April 23 in the year 2000.
This year Good Friday will be April 19th and Easter Sunday will be April 21st. You can find a table for upcoming Easter Sundays here.
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