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View Full Version : Why is Easter on a different day each year?



caryrae
04-04-2007, 06:15 PM
I was just thinking, if Easter is to celebrate Jesus's resurrection why is Easter on a different day every year? Didn't this happen on one certain day?

SallyP
04-04-2007, 06:38 PM
The date is merely a calendar date to commerate the event, not the actual anniversary of the date each year.
The Easter Sunday calendar date is the first Sunday after the first full moon after MAR-20, the nominal date of the Spring Equinox. Since the date is based on the Equinox it will vary from year to year.
I believe the early Christian Leaders used the Equinox date to try and change peoples beliefs from paganism to Christianity. They tried to make the celebrations around the same time since people were in the habit of having a spiritual celebration at that time of the year anyway.

MsMin
04-04-2007, 07:18 PM
This may be more than you want to know;) Basically as mentioned it is set by the moon.
The date for Easter shifts every year within the Gregorian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar is the standard international calendar for civil use. In addition, it regulates the ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. The current Gregorian ecclesiastical rules that determine the date of Easter trace back to 325 CE at the First Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. At that time the Roman world used the Julian Calendar (put in place by Julius Caesar).

The Council decided to keep Easter on a Sunday, the same Sunday throughout the world. To fix incontrovertibly the date for Easter, and to make it determinable indefinitely in advance, the Council constructed special tables to compute the date. These tables were revised in the following few centuries resulting eventually in the tables constructed by the 6th century Abbot of Scythia, Dionysis Exiguus. Nonetheless, different means of calculations continued in use throughout the Christian world.

In 1582 Gregory XIII (Pope of the Roman Catholic Church) completed a reconstruction of the Julian calendar and produced new Easter tables. One major difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendar is the "leap year rule". See our FAQ on Calendars for a description of the difference. Universal adoption of this Gregorian calendar occurred slowly. By the 1700's, though, most of western Europe had adopted the Gregorian Calendar. The Eastern Christian churches still determine the Easter dates using the older Julian Calendar method. The usual statement, that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox, is not a precise statement of the actual ecclesiastical rules. The full moon involved is not the astronomical Full Moon but an ecclesiastical moon (determined from tables) that keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical Moon.

alpro2
04-04-2007, 07:26 PM
Scriptures show the actual date of Jesus' resurrection is Nisan 16, which is based on the Hebrew calendar.

caryrae
04-04-2007, 07:31 PM
WOW, I didn't think I would get such interesting responses. Thanks Guys

Disney Babe
04-04-2007, 07:35 PM
Another question:

Was Easter placed near Passover on purpose? Is Nisan16 near Passover? Christ's death and resurrection occured after a Passover meal, correct?

magicofdisney
04-04-2007, 07:47 PM
Another question:

Was Easter placed near Passover on purpose? Is Nisan16 near Passover? Christ's death and resurrection occured after a Passover meal, correct?
According to Scripture, Jesus observed the Passover (the Jewish celebration of their release from slavery by the Egyptians) just before his crucifixion and then resurrection. This is what Christians celebrate at Easter.

conorsmom2000
04-04-2007, 08:36 PM
;) Basically as mentioned it is set by the moon.

I never knew this until my son's principal told as the last Parent's association meeting! :blush: Next year it's unbelievably early - March 23rd!!

JessicaRabbit
04-05-2007, 01:39 PM
I had always wondered about this too - great thread - very informative!


Next year it's unbelievably early - March 23rd!!

Oh my Jen, that means Easter will be before our kids' birthdays! That will be really weird!

Strmchsr
04-05-2007, 05:06 PM
Another question:

Was Easter placed near Passover on purpose? Is Nisan16 near Passover? Christ's death and resurrection occured after a Passover meal, correct?

This was no coincidence that Jesus' crucifixion occurred around Passover. It was the only time of year all the major players were in one place and where all the pieces could come together at once. Also, there is HUGE symbolism. The Passover celebrates the Jewish deliverance from Egypt. Good Friday/Easter celebrates the human deliverance from sin/death. At Passover each family would slay a lamb and, in Christian symbolism, Jesus is seen as the perfect Lamb slain for the entire world. So, lots of reasons for the Passion/Resurrection to occur during Passover week.

Jasper
04-05-2007, 05:32 PM
While it is true that Christ was in Jerusalem for Passover, it is also true that the exact date of Passover has been lost to antiquity. That means that the Jewish leaders basically did the same thing the Christian leaders did by getting together and picking a particular, regular method of setting the observance of Passover from year to year.


So even though Passover was part of their thinking in setting the date for Easter, ultimately we really donít have any idea if we are close to the correct date or not.

crazypoohbear
04-06-2007, 07:32 AM
I thought easter was set because it occurs 40 days after Ash Wednesday.

I don't know how ash wednesday is chosen but I know that Easter comes 40 days after that. When I go to church this Sunday I will ask my priest and re post.

But.... I'd like to wish everyone a happy easter while I'm here. :mickey:

Strmchsr
04-06-2007, 08:33 AM
I thought easter was set because it occurs 40 days after Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is "chosen" because it is the 40 days before Easter not counting Sunday. This is in remembrance of the 40 days Jesus spent in the Wilderness in fasting and prayer. Lent, likewise, is to be a 40 day period of fasting and spiritual preparation for Easter. "Ash" Wednesday is so named because ashes are an ancient, and biblical, symbol of repentance.

Jasper
04-06-2007, 09:00 AM
Ash Wednesday is "chosen" because it is the 40 days before Easter not counting Sunday. This is in remembrance of the 40 days Jesus spent in the Wilderness in fasting and prayer. Lent, likewise, is to be a 40 day period of fasting and spiritual preparation for Easter. "Ash" Wednesday is so named because ashes are an ancient, and biblical, symbol of repentance.

This is a matter of which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In this case though we do know which comes first and this post is correct, Easter comes first and then Ash Wednesday is set based on that.

Scar
04-06-2007, 09:51 AM
Is Nisan16 near Passover? Leviticus 23:5-6

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.

Donald A
04-06-2007, 01:17 PM
This is an interesting post. My fellow Disney lovers are very well read.

Happy Easter!

Jasper
04-06-2007, 02:25 PM
Leviticus 23:5-6

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.

Part of the issue with this kind of quote is that both the Jewish faith, Christian faiths and secular governments have changed their calanders multiple times over the course of human history. And when you listen to historians and biblical scholars there doesn't seem to be much agreement about "when" in relation to our current calander was the "first month" back then.

I hope this makes sense, I know what I am trying to say but I am not sure it is coming out correctly!

Scar
04-06-2007, 04:43 PM
Jasper,

First, I would like to make it clear that that is not my quote. ;)

Although calendars have changed over the years, what has not changed is the equinoxes and the solstices. I have confidence that the Jews have faithfully celebrated Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and all their other holy days at the same time of the year since they were commanded to. :thumbsup:

darthmacho
04-08-2007, 08:53 AM
Actually it was decided in 1910 CE, at the Council of Hallmark Cards.


:easter:

alpro2
04-08-2007, 09:07 AM
Actually it was decided in 1910 CE, at the Council of Hallmark Cards.



:easter:

:rotfl: That was very good. I burst out laughing with that one. :thumbsup: