Why is Easter on a different day every year?

Spring means a few different things. The promise of warmer weather and (thanks to Easter) the promise of everything sweet and cute (i.e. Peeps, chicks, and all the candy). For those who celebrate Easter, planning your schedule accordingly may mean you notice something unusual. Easter — which this year is on Sunday, April 17th — is never on the same day. And while it may not be unusual, the thing is, do we even know why Easter’s celebrated on a different day each year? Well, the fact of the matter is that it’s pretty simple and has to do with the moon!

Since the date for Easter is set around the Spring Equinox, it is not celebrated on the same day each year. According to the Bible, Jesus’s resurrection took place around Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Then, at the end of the 2nd century, many Christians and churches decided to celebrate Easter, with some celebrating on Sunday and some actually celebrating on Passover!

In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be held on the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Spring Equinox. If the Full Moon happened on a Sunday, then Easter should be celebrated the following week.

But that’s not all! Although most use the Gregorian calendar to keep track of the date, some use the Julian calendar. The main difference? There’s a wider span of days for Easter to fall on with the Julian calendar. The more you know!

Filed Under