When is Palm Sunday? When is Easter? A guide to this year's holiday
While everybody certainly knows that Christmas always falls on Dec. 25, Easter Sunday and its related holidays are moveable feasts, with the Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection to be celebrated this year on April 9.
Here’s a look at how that date is determined, as well as some history and quick facts about Easter:
When is Easter 2023?
In Western Christianity, the calculation is based on a combination of the Gregorian calendar and the phases of the moon.
Easter Sunday always occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.” That’s the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or after the March or spring equinox, which happened this year on March 20.
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Although the exact date of Easter changes each year, there's a defined period in which the holiday occurs, always from March 22 through April 25, based on the Gregorian calendar.
This year, Easter falls roughly in the middle of that range, more than a week earlier than it did in 2022. Next year, the holiday will fall even earlier, on March 31. Whatever the date, Easter Sunday always occurs six and a half weeks after Ash Wednesday, a period that makes up the 40 days of Lent.
In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which follows the Julian calendar, the observance of Easter can occur between April 4 and May 8. This year, the date for the Eastern Orthodox celebration is April 16.
The meaning of Easter
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the culmination of Holy Week, a series of services that begin with Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This year, Palm Sunday will be marked on Sunday, April 2.
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Holy Week also includes Maundy Thursday (this year on April 6) to mark the Last Supper and washing of feet; and Good Friday (this year on April 7) to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
What is the most common Easter date?
Over a 500-year period (from 1600 to 2099 AD), Easter will have most often been celebrated on either March 31 or April 16, according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.”
What's the most unusual Easter date?
According to long-term averages calculated by “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” the most unusual Easter date is March 22. The second place goes to April 24 and third place goes to March 23.
How do Easter eggs fit into the Christian tradition?
The practice of dyeing Easter eggs can be traced to Orthodox Christians in Mesopotamia who took the symbol of the Passover egg and dyed it red as a symbol of Christ’s blood, according to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The eggs also signify the empty tomb of Jesus.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Easter 2023: When is it and why is it different every year?