The History and Date of Easter

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What is the history of easter, easter eggs, and bunnies? When is easter, which day does easter is celebrated?

jesusThe history of Easter, as well as its theological and Iiturgical significance, is rooted in the Old Testament. In the Book of Exodus “Passover” refers not only to the Angel of Death “passing over” the houses of the Jews in Egypt but alsa to Israel’s deliverance from servitude-the exodus from Egypt and the entrance into the Promised Land, The Jewish Passover feast joined the theme of gratitude for divine deliverance with a spring harvest feast in which the first produce of the year was offered to God. Since Christ was crucified during Passover, the Christian commemoration of His death not only coincided with Passover, but also incorporated elements of the jewish feast. Thus Easter is the Christian Passover.

Passover, which was celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan in the jewish lunar calendar, could fall on any day of the week. Some early Christians, called Quartodecimans, observed Easter on the 14th Nisan. However, most Christians felt that Easter should always be observed on a Sunday, the weekly celebration of the Resurrection. The attempt to impose the Sunday observance on the Quartodecimans led to heated controversies in the 2d century. Eventually, it was decided at the Council of Nicaea (325) that Easter be observed on the Sunday after both the 14th Nisan and the vernal equinox.

While the date of Passover (and Easter) was calculated according to a fixed date in a lunar calendar, it had to be expressed as a variable date in the imperial or Julian solar calendar, which most Christians followed in daily life. It was obviously desirable to devise a long-range list of future dates according to a predetermined pattern or cycle in the solar calendar. Devising such a cycle proved extremely complicated for the methods then available. Various cycles (of 16, 19, 84, even of 532 years) were constructed in various places and resulted in further controversies, lasting until the 9th century, about the date of Easter. A further divergence in the date of Easter began in 1582 with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, which some countries were slow in adopting.

Easter is now uniformly observed by Western churches; however, Easter may still fall on a different date in those Eastern churches that use a different method of oalculation. The proposal of a perpetnal calendar, in which each date falls on the same day of the week every year and in which Easter would fall on a fixed Sunday, presents no theological difficulty.

Year Spring FullMoon Astronomical Easter Gregorian Easter Julian Easter Jewish Passover
2001 8 April 15 April 15 April 15 April 8 April
2002 28 March 31 March 31 March 05.May 28 March
2003 16 April 20 April 20 April 27 April 17 April
2004 5 April 11 April 11 April 11 April 6 April
2005 25 March 27 March 27 March 01.May 24 April
2006 13 April 16 April 16 April 23 April 13 April
2007 2 April 8 April 8 April 8 April 3 April
2008 21 March 23 March 23 March 27 April 20 April
2009 9 April 12 April 12 April 19 April 9 April
2010 30 March 4 April 4 April 4 April 30 March
2011 18 April 24 April 24 April 24 April 19 April
2012 6 April 8 April 8 April 15 April 7 April
2013 27 March 31 March 31 March 05.May 26 March
2014 15 April 20 April 20 April 20 April 15 April
2015 4 April 5 April 5 April 12 April 4 April
2016 23 March 27 March 27 March 01.May 23 April
2017 11 April 16 April 16 April 16 April 11 April
2018 31 March 1 April 1 April 8 April 31 March
2019 21 March 24 March 21 April 28 April 20 April
2020 8 April 12 April 12 April 19 April 9 April
2021 28 March 4 April 4 April 02.May 28 March

 

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