When is Easter?
"Easter is termed a movable Christian holy day because it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity), following the cycle of the moon."
Easter in the United States is celebrated on:
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Easter Monday is celebrated on the following dates;
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, April 25, 2011
"In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25 inclusive. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In the Julian calendar used by Eastern Christianity, Easter also always falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25 inclusive, which in the Gregorian calendar, due to the 13 day difference between the calendars between 1900 and 2099, are dates from April 4 to May 8 inclusive."
Ash Wednesday is 17 February
Palm Sunday is 28 March
Good Friday is 02 April
(Western) Easter Sunday is 04 April
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 04 April
Ash Wednesday is 09 March
Palm Sunday is 17 April
Good Friday is 22 April
(Western) Easter Sunday is 24 April
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 24 April
Ash Wednesday is 22 February
Palm Sunday is 01 April
Good Friday is 06 April
(Western) Easter Sunday is 08 April
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 15 April
Ash Wednesday is 13 February
Palm Sunday is 24 March
Good Friday is 29 March
(Western) Easter Sunday is 31 March
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 05 May
Ash Wednesday is 05 March
Palm Sunday is 13 April
Good Friday is 18 April
(Western) Easter Sunday is 20 April
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 20 April
Ash Wednesday is 18 February
Palm Sunday is 29 March
Good Friday is 03 April
(Western) Easter Sunday is 05 April
(Orthodox) Easter Sunday is 12 April
Ash Wednesday is 10 February
(Western) Easter Sunday is 27 March
The precise date of Easter has at times been a matter for contention
"At the First Council of Nicaea in 325 it was decided that all Christians would celebrate Easter on the same day, which would be computed independently of any Jewish calculations to determine the date of Passover. It is probable, though, that no method of determining the date was specified by the Council. (No contemporary account of the Council's decisions has survived.) Epiphanius of Salamis wrote in the mid-4th century:
...the emperor...convened a council of 318 bishops...in the city of Nicea...They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God's holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people...."
"In the years following the council, the computational system that was worked out by the church of Alexandria came to be normative. It took a while for the Alexandrian rules to be adopted throughout Christian Europe, however. The Church of Rome continued to use an 84-year lunisolar calendar cycle from the late third century until 457. The Church of Rome continued to use its own methods until the 6th century, when it may have adopted the Alexandrian method as converted into the Julian calendar by Dionysius Exiguus (certain proof of this does not exist until the ninth century). Early Christians in Britain and Ireland also used a late third century Roman 84-year cycle until the Synod of Whitby in 664, when they adopted the Alexandrian method. Churches in western continental Europe used a late Roman method until the late 8th century during the reign of Charlemagne, when they finally adopted the Alexandrian method. However, with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by the Catholic Church in 1582 and the continuing use of the Julian calendar by Eastern Orthodox Churches, the date on which Easter is celebrated again deviated, and the discrepancy continues to this day."
"The rule has since the Middle Ages been phrased as Easter is observed on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox. However, this does not reflect the actual ecclesiastical rules precisely. One reason for this is that the full moon involved (called the Paschal full moon) is not an astronomical full moon, but the 14th day of a calendar lunar month. Another difference is that the astronomical vernal equinox is a natural astronomical phenomenon, which can fall on March 20 or 21, while the ecclesiastical date is fixed by convention on March 21."
"In applying the ecclesiastical rules, Christian Churches use March 21 as the starting point in determining the date of Easter, from which they find the next full moon, etc. In the case of Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, which continue to use the Julian calendar, their starting point in determining the date of Orthodox Easter is also March 21 according to the Julian reckoning, resulting in the divergence in the date of Easter in most years."
The actual calculations for the date of Easter are somewhat complicated, but can be described briefly as follows:
"Easter is determined on the basis of lunisolar cycles. The lunar year consists of 30-day and 29-day lunar months, generally alternating, with an embolismic month added periodically to bring the lunar cycle into line with the solar cycle. In each solar year (January 1 to December 31), the lunar month beginning with an ecclesiastical new moon falling in the 29-day period from March 8 to April 5 inclusive is designated as the Paschal lunar month for that year. Easter is the 3rd Sunday in the Paschal lunar month, or, in other words, the Sunday after the Paschal lunar month's 14th day. The 14th of the Paschal lunar month is designated by convention as the Paschal full moon, although the 14th of the lunar month may differ from the date of the astronomical full moon by up to two days. Since the ecclesiastical new moon falls on a date from March 8 to April 5 inclusive, the Paschal full moon (the 14th of that lunar month) must fall on a date from March 21 to April 18 inclusive."
"Accordingly, Gregorian Easter can fall on 35 possible dates - between March 22 and April 25 inclusive. It last fell on March 22 in 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It fell on March 23 in 2008, but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011. The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date, happening 220,400 times or 3.9%, compared to the median for all dates of 189,525 times or 3.3%."
"To prevent any differences developing in the dating of Easter, the Catholic Church has compiled tables for Easter, which are based on the ecclesiastical rules described above. All affiliated churches celebrate Easter in accordance with these tables."
Have you ever wished for a classic Easter special to show your kids? Here Comes Peter Cottontail is a Rankin & Bass production that bears a marked similarity to the beloved Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.