Scallywag

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When is Easter 2013?

March 23rd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 33 secs

Um… When is Easter 2013?

When is Easter 2013? Well this year Easter Sunday falls on the 31st of March. Of course, the reason why you naturally find yourself asking, “Exactly when is Easter 2013?” is because every year the date keeps changing. But have you ever wondered why?

To answer that, you need to forget Easter 2013 and go back to the origins of Easter itself which, surprisingly, precede the death and resurrection of Christ. The term, “Easter“, really derives from “Eostre” (and various similar sounding names): an ancient celebration for the pagan dawn goddess “Eostre.” Being an adaptable lot, early Christians happily used the existing holiday to share their own faith. So, in time, “Easter” came to be known as an important commemoration of the sacrifice and return to life of Jesus Christ.

Which brings us back to the key reason we keep asking, “When is Easter 2013?” and why the dates keep shifting. The explanation? Well, Western Easter is held on the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. That’s the date (2oth of March in the Northern Hemisphere) when day and night are meant to be equal (But, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere on the edge of the world like I do, then it’s actually the Autumn Equinox (and it happens on the 22nd or 23rd). And of course, the Eastern celebration of Easter falls on a different date completely. But I think it’s confusing enough as it is, isn’t it?).

So you see, every year we are left wondering “When is Easter?” because the first Sunday after the full moon follows a different cycle to calendar dates. But that’s okay, given that, like Christmas, we aren’t celebrating the exact date of these happenings but the meaning of the events themselves.

So you don’t need to ask “When is Easter 2013?” because you already know. But when is Easter 2014? And for that matter, 2015, and 2016? You could look at a moon phase chart and plot it out, do a web search, or download an App. But even if you don’t, you needn’t worry. Shops will be stocking their shelves full of Easter goods with plenty of time to spare each year, just to remind you. Happy Easter!

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