Why Easter is on different days every year

Olivia Lambert
Associate News Editor

Easter is Christianity’s most important moveable feast, with the holiday changing weekends every year.

The weekend celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead will be this month, with Good Friday on April 19, Easter Sunday on April 21 and Easter Monday on April 22.

Director of the Centre for Religious Studies at Monash University, Professor Constant Mews, told Yahoo News Australia the date of Easter was determined by the first full moon of the spring equinox – the moment the sun crosses the equator causing day and night to last an equal amount of time.

Easter Sunday will usually fall the first Sunday after the first full moon.

“The date of Easter is controversial because it is based on different ways of organising and classifying the calendar,” Professor Mews said.

“It’s a mix of the Jewish lunar calendar where the month is organised by the moon and the solar calendar based on the sun.”

Easter is Christianity’s most important moveable feast. Source: Getty/file

Easter does not indicate the exact anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus and while it may seem bizarre, Professor Mews said it was celebrated during spring in the northern hemisphere as it was symbolic of light over darkness.

Professor Mews said Easter most likely fell between March 22 and April 25, but there have been some very rare instances where is has been celebrated in May.

He said Orthodox Easters were celebrated on a different date because they followed the Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar, which means a year is 365 days and six hours long.

Most of the world follows the Gregorian calendar where the year is 365 days, five hours and 49 minutes long.

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