Why there are two Easter dates - Deepstash
The Easter Celebration

Learn more about history with this collection

Different Easter traditions around the world

The significance of Easter eggs and bunnies in modern culture

The importance of the holiday in the Christian faith

The Easter Celebration

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Calculating Easter

Calculating Easter

Prior to the Council of Nicaea (In 325 AD), churches around the world celebrated Easter at various times. In order to bring unity among the churches, council members created a formula that would calculate the date for Easter celebration around the world.

They established Easter to be held on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon, which follows the vernal equinox, but always after Jewish Passover. It was also determined that the vernal equinox would fall on March 21.

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Easter and Passover

Jewish Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which is the first month of the year for the Jewish calendar. It is a time practicing Jews commemorate God setting the ancient Jewish people free from captivity in Egypt. Passover is celebrated for 8 days and is made up of several ceremonial traditions.

It was important for the church to celebrate Easter after the Jewish Passover because Jesus Christ celebrated Passover with his Jewish followers the night before he was crucified.

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Same Easter, Different Day

Same Easter, Different Day

After the Great Schism of 1054, the Catholic and Orthodox churches still believed Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon to follow the vernal equinox.

  • But the Catholic Church no longer found that Easter had to fall after Passover. It also switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which was presented in 1582.
  • The Orthodox Church still held to the original Nicean Council's formula for Easter as well as following the original calendar system of the Julian calendar.

The two churches now celebrated the same Easter holiday on two different days.

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The Vernal Equinox

Before the invention of calendars and other modern methods of tracking years and seasons, people relied on the position of the sun in the sky and obvious signs in nature to indicate the passing of time.

When the equator and the hemispheres of the Earth became common knowledge, it was understood that the slightly tilted rotation of the earth causes different hemispheres to experience different seasons. The vernal equinox is the event that occurs in late March, which brings spring to the parts of the earth in the Northern Hemispheres.

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