• When is Easter 2018 and why does the date change each year?

    By: Fiza Pirani, Atlanta Journal-Constitution


    No one ever wonders when Christmas falls each year, but Easter Sunday is a different story.

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    The Christian holiday, which celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his crucifixion, marks the end of the Holy Week, or Lent.

    When is Easter 2018?

    This year’s Easter Sunday falls on April 1 and no, that’s not an April Fool’s joke.

    How is the date determined?

    Today, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, the full moon after the spring equinox. Once the date of the full moon is set, it’s easy to determine the date of Easter Sunday and other Easter holidays.

    >> Related: It’s Lenten season: Why it’s not always good to give up things for Lent

    Why Sunday?

    In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea, a gathering of Christian bishops, decided that there should be a more organized and universal way to decide when Easter would be celebrated, the AJC previously reported.

    They decided that the holiday would be held the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox, which always occurs on March 21. 

    If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter is delayed a week.

    >> Related: What is Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and how do we celebrate?

    Why does the date change each year?

    The date of Easter changes, because the Paschal full moon can fall on various days in different time zones.

    But because Easter falls on a Sunday after the March 21 spring equinox, it will always occur on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. That’s also why Easter and Christian holidays leading up to that day, such as Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday, are referred to as “moveable feasts.”

    >> Related: Ash Wednesday around the world

    Do Christians celebrate Easter Sunday on the same day?

    According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, the Eastern Orthodox typically celebrate Easter Sunday later than Protestants and Roman Catholics. That’s because Eastern Orthodox churches didn’t adopt the Gregorian calendar method and instead follow the Julian calendar, a solar calendar adopted by Julius Caesar in 45 BC, which is 13 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar.

    >> Related: How did a bunny become the Easter symbol?

    When was Easter 2017? 

    Last year, Easter Sunday fell on April 16.

    When will Easter 2019 be?

    Next year, Easter Sunday will fall on April 21.

    >> Related: Percentage of white American Christians decreasing, report says

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