How Easter’s Date is Determined

Without a doubt one of the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar, Easter is a holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After his crucifixion, death, and burial, three days later, He rose from the grave. By this, He conquered death and redeemed us from sin.

Easter is a “lunar feast” or a “movable feast” that is always held on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

Easter this year happens just one day after April’s full Moon (Saturday, April 16), which is the first full Moon to occur after the spring equinox (March 20, 2022) and is therefore known in the Christian calendar as the “Paschal Full Moon.” To make a long story short, Easter always occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

Let’s break it down: In 2022, the spring equinox happens on Sunday, March 20. The first full Moon to occur after that date rises on Saturday, April 16. Therefore, Easter will be observed on the subsequent Sunday, which is Sunday, April 17. 

Many Eastern Orthodox churches follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian. In this case, the observance of Easter can occur between April 4 and May 8.

The name “Easter” was derived from “Eostre,” “originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honor of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover.”

Another probability is the Norse eostur, eastur, or ostara, which meant “the season of the growing sun” or “the season of new birth.” The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, easter would be linked to the changing of the season.

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