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Easter is observed on the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox (where the sun is directly over the equator in the spring of the Northern Hemisphere). Since our calendar is based on the movement of the Earth and not the movement of the Moon, Easter falls on different dates every year. These requirements mean that Easter will always be between March 22 and April 25.

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16y ago
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16y ago

In 325 AD, the Council of Nicea set the date for the celebration of Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox, March 21. For this reason, the date will change each year and can fall anywhere from March 22 to April 25. Easter does not come from The Bible. It's origin is much earlier in pagan religions and their fertility rites. Those pagan celebrations were Christianized by the Catholic church, and have no basis in Scripture. Jesus Christ celebrated the Feasts that were instituted by God, such as Passover and Pentecost. The Word "Easter" that appears in some versions of the New Testament was changed by translaters from Passover. Passover is the correct translation of that Scripture.

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15y ago

It's different for the same reason that Catholic Easter falls on a different day every year, the way it's calculated. The only difference is that the calculation for Orthodox Easter uses the Julian calendar and the Catholic Church uses the Gregorian calendar. The way it works is you start off with the ecclesiastical vernal equinox which always falls on March 21st in the Julian calendar. Easter then falls on the Sunday after the next full moon.

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10y ago

Easter Sunday typically falls on a different date each year because of a system that was slowly developed throughout the Middle Ages, and which remainsthe base for what we use today.

Easter is always the first Sunday after or on the first full moon, after the Spring (vernal) Equinox in the Northern hemisphere and the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

The date is determined by a combination of events centered around the lunar cycle, the solar cycle, the division of each year into 365 days and a 1,700 year old Church ruling.

The explanation starts with the fact that early Christians elected to link the date of Easter to the Hebrew calendar. The New Testament states that the Resurrection took place on the first day of the week following Passover. Sunday is the first day of a Jewish week; the Passover falls on the day of the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, which can fall on either March 20 or 21.

Chaotic, or what? The result was that different churches ended up celebrating Easter on various days. And to try to clear up the confusion, the Roman Emperor Constantine I organized a major summit meeting.

The first Ecumenical Council was held at Nicea in present-day Turkey in the year 325. It decreed that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon that occurred after the Spring Equinox. This retained a lunar connection as a sort of "memory" of the Jewish calendar system, and ensured that the feast would be on a Sunday. Because lunar phases occur independently of the solar year, this means that there is a "window" of several weeks during which Easter may be celebrated. By this reckoning, in our calendar, Easter must occur between March 22 and April 25.

So, go to your calendar, and find the first day of spring - then find the first full moon immediately following that. And Easter will be the first Sunday after (or on) that first full moon. Note the difference in the southern hemisphere: Easter falls on the first Sunday on or after the first full moon after the Autumnal equinox, not after the first day of Autumn.

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Q: Why is orthodox Easter different each year?
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