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Easter Sunday – Why its date is always so unpredictable?

EasterEggsIf you have checked the calendar, Easter Sunday lands on a different date each year. How is the date of Easter calculated?

There really isn’t an easy answer. Easter Sunday a true “moveable feast”, falls on a different date each year, determined by a combination of events that involve the lunar cycle, the solar cycle, a 1,700-year-old Church ruling, and the fact we have 365 days in a year and live in one of two hemispheres!

It all started in year 325 when the Council of Nicaea set the date as the Sunday following the paschal full moon— the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox. The Council wanted to keep Easter on the same Sunday throughout the world. To fix the date and to make it “easy” to figure out forever in the future, they put together special tables to compute the date (tables you can still look up —that’s the easiest way!)

But things got complicated because there are two calendars involved, the Gregorian and the Julian.  Although most of western Europe adopted the Gregorian Calendar by 1700, Eastern Christian churches still determine Easter dates using the older Julian Calendar (which is why there are actually two Easter dates each year).

So, to figure out Easter (by our Gregorian calendar), find the first day of spring – then find the first full moon immediately following that. Easter will be the first Sunday after (or on) that first full moon.

Oh, and this only works if you’re living in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, Easter falls on the first Sunday on or after the first full moon after the Autumnal equinox.

An easier way to find out what date Easter falls, is visit www.lexorandi.org/easter-date.html.