Why Does the Date of Easter Change?

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Although Easter is a most important day of the year in many religions, most people do not understand why the date of Easter changes from year to year or how the date is determined. We all know that we can count on Easter to fall on a Sunday sometime in late March through sometime in April, but how the particular Sunday of Easter in any particular year is determined has been an on-going mystery for many people.


Religions that follow the Gregorian calendar, like here in the United States, celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the Vernal Equinox after the occurrence of a full moon. I will attempt to simplify that explanation. The Vernal Equinox, also known as the First Day of Spring, generally falls on March 21st. Next you must follow the cycles of the moon to know when the next full moon will occur after the Vernal Equinox has occurred. Once the full moon has occurred, Easter will be set on the very next Sunday immediately following. Therefore, Easter will never occur earlier than March 22nd, the day after the Vernal Equinox IF it also happens to be on a Saturday with a full moon, or any later than April 25th.


So, that is how the floating feast of Easter is calculated from year to year. If you are still thoroughly confused, you can always continue to rely on a calendar to let you know on which Sunday in March or April Easter will be celebrated on!


19 thoughts on “Why Does the Date of Easter Change?”

  1. Wow, interesting fact on Easter event, especially the dates on which it is calculated. I had no idea it couldn’t fall earlier than 22nd March. You learn something new each day. Thanks and Happy Easter x

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  2. You learn something new every day! I always wondered how they calculate it. My country is Christian orthodox so our Easter is on different day sometimes, i wonder how we calculate it

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  3. Really a interesting post ! Learned a new about Christianity .. Being a hindu boy I never noticed the changing dates of Easter .. but from now I surely know something about it 😊 thanks for sharing this ..

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    1. I am no authority on the subject, but I would say the difference is due to the fact that Western Christians use the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter, the Eastern Orthodox continue to use the older, astronomically inaccurate Julian calendar. So the difference in the date is based on which calendar a particular culture follows.


    1. Yes. While doing my research for this blog post, I also learned that the tradition of the Easter Bunny was introduced into the United States by the German immigrants who brought over their stories of an egg-laying hare. Interesting, isn’t it? 🙂


  4. I don’t celebrate Easter but was wondering about this. Some of our Muslim holidays are calculated by spotting the moon too – but we usually won’t know til the day before! Interesting…


  5. I actually knew this! My family does observe Easter as a day that is celebrated as the day Jesus rose from the dead, but we actually celebrate it all year round. There is an awesome book I read that is all about how the church came up with dates and what not for celebrations. Most of the religious feast and holidays are around pagan holidays. It is an awesome book you might enjoy called Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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