“Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!” This chant is joyfully acclaimed by Christians all over the world every Easter: It is a song of triumph. It celebrates the victory of Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, evil and even death itself.
For Christians, Easter — the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ — is the most important feast on the calendar. Christmas, probably the most popular feast and one that receives much more commercial attention, commemorates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, but birth is common to every one of us. On the other hand, we believe that only Jesus has risen; he is the first to rise from the dead and his resurrection is a preview and promise for all of us, as he spoke: “In my father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (John 14: 2-3)
Easter has many memories, traditions and customs over the years: wearing one’s “Easter finest” (including that Easter bonnet) to church, Easter lilies, sunrise services, the traditional Easter brunch, the blessing of Easter foods, Easter baskets filled with candy and other goodies, the Easter bunny, Easter parades and, of course, the ever-popular Easter egg hunt.
Easter can arrive as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. The dating of Easter is complex and goes all the way back to the council of Nicea in 325; this council used the Gregorian calendar and established the following formula: Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or just after the spring equinox (the first day of spring). However, Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar to determine their Easter date — causing some confusion and controversy over the true date of Easter. This year, Orthodox Easter is May 2.
Easter can range from March 22nd to April 25th. We will not see another earliest Easter date until the year 2245 but the latest Easter date will happen again in the year 2038.
When Easter happens, it all depends on the full moon. Easter is always celebrated on the FIRST Sunday following the FIRST spring full moon. Spring started on March 20th and the first spring full moon was the Worm Moon on March 28th (Sunday). So a week later, April 4th is Easter. So for the earliest Easter date of March 22nd to happen, Spring and a full moon have to happen on a Saturday which would make Easter the following day since that would be the next