EASTER is a Christian holiday which celebrates Jesus rising from the dead after three days.
It is not static celebration such as Christmas, so we explain why Easter falls on a different date every year.
Easter is celebrated on different days because of a set of calculations based on the observations of the moon
Why is Easter on a different date every year?
The date is decided by a complex set of calculations based on observations of the moon, meaning it is different every year.
In early Christianity, different churches used different methods, leading to disagreements which remain unresolved centuries later.
Eastern and Western churches continue to celebrate Easter according to different calendars, although sometimes by chance the festivals coincide.
In the last 10 years, this is when Easter was celebrated:
- April 8, 2012
- March 31, 2013
- April 20, 2014
- April 5, 2015
- March 27, 2016
- April 16, 2017
- April 1, 2018
- April 21, 2019
- April 12, 2020
- April 4, 2021
- April 17, 2022
The date for 2023 is Sunday, April 9.
How is the Easter date worked out?
Since early Christian times, several methods have been used to work out the date of Easter.
In Western Christianity, Easter Sunday must always follow the first full moon after the spring equinox.
In 2022 the spring equinox was on Sunday, March 20, with the next full moon – the paschal full moon – on Saturday, April 16.
Easter Day is the first Sunday after the paschal full moon, which makes it the next day in 2022 – Sunday, April 17.
Passover typically begins on the night of the first full moon after the spring equinox, except in “leap months” when it is the second full moon, as in 2016.
The “paschal full moon” – from the Aramaic for Passover – is the one that falls on or after the spring equinox.
Do churches celebrate Easter on different days?
When in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Roman calendar with the more accurate Gregorian calendar, determining the date of Easter became a bit more complicated.
Easter was first calculated using the Gregorian calendar in the UK in 1753, with Catholic and western Christians still using the Gregorian calendar to determine the date of Easter.
As per the Gregorian calendar used in the UK, Easter can be on the dates between March 22 to April 25.
The last time Easter occurred on the earliest possible date, March 22, was in 1818. The next time won’t be until 2285.