May 21, 2024

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Easter Sunday date: How it’s determined

2 min read

The date of Easter can vary by over a month.

WASHINGTON — Do you ever wonder why Easter can be in March or even late April? 

Easter is determined as the first Sunday after the first full moon (Paschal Full Moon) after the vernal equinox. In 2022, the spring equinox occurred on March 20, the next full moon is April 16. The first Sunday after that is this Sunday, April 17th and that’s Easter. 

We know that the vernal equinox can vary up to a day or so but when you factor in the moon cycle the date of Easter can really change. 

For example, if the full moon is the day before the vernal equinox then Easter is at least another twenty eight days away, possibly more, depending on the day the equinox hit.

The latest Easter could fall is April 25. The earliest Easter could occur is March 22, which was the date of Easter in 1818 and will be again in the year 2285.

Some governments and churches have tried to suggest a fixed date for the holiday, the second Sunday of April, but that idea hasn’t exactly caught on yet. 

For all you math majors out there, Easter dates repeat exactly every 5,700,000 years. Since the date varies so widely, so does the weather. I can remember Easters with highs near 90 degrees and some Easters with a few flakes flying. 

This year Easter will be breezy and chilly and more like March but mostly sunny.

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2022-04-15 09:05:56

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