BY: JESSICA BEUKER
A few days ago, I sat down with an old friend for a cup of coffee. We exchanged the usual “How are you?” and “What have you been up to?” before she asked me about my plans for the coming holiday.
“Are you going back to Saskatoon for Easter next weekend?”
“Next weekend?!” I echoed loudly across the table. “Easter isn’t until April.”
Apparently, the fact that Easter Sunday falls on March 27 this year wasn’t shocking just to me. Countless friends and co-workers are equally perplexed as to why the holiday is scheduled so early this year. And while there is an explanation, it’s not as exciting as you might have hoped.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, is the Christian feast falling on the Thursday before Easter and commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with the apostles. Christians believe that Jesus was crucified the following day on Good Friday and rose again three days later.
Unlike most days in the Christian calendar, Easter does not have a fixed date. The normal Gregorian or Julian calendars follow the cycle of the sun, but Easter is determined by the lunar calendars, which follows the phases of the moon. Because of this, Easter is scheduled to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox (basically a fancy way of saying first day of spring), which occurs around March 20. This means that the date will always fall between March 22 and April 25.
The earliest date Easter can ever fall on is March 22, which happened in 1761 and 1818, but won’t happen again until 2285. The most common date it falls on is April 19th.
According to Independent, both governments and churches have tried in the past to agree on a fixed date. Secularists have suggested that Easter should fall on the second Sunday of April every year. But even if we could agree on a date, implementing it would be another matter.
In 1928, an Easter Act was passed in the UK to establish Easter Sunday as the Sunday following the second Saturday in April, but even though the act was passed, it has never been enforced.
After this year, the next Easter to occur in the month of March won’t be until March 31, 2024.
Image sourcing: astronomy.org, christian-backgrounds.com