The Easter season is quickly approaching, and with it will come bunnies, baskets, cloth-draped crosses, and an empty tomb. I’m excited about celebrating Easter in a new way this year, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Easter usually rolls around in April, and this year Easter falls on April 17. But why has Easter landed on this particular day in this particular month of the year 2022? And why does Easter fall on a different Sunday in either March or April every year? Some of you know the answer to this question, but others of you may not. So for those of you who, like me, want to understand clearly, let’s take a look at the facts, and then we’ll have some information when our family or friends want to discuss. It’s not complicated, and when summed up in a few key points, it’s really quite simple. Here we go.
EASTER FALLS ON THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE FULL MOON THAT OCCURS ON OR AFTER THE SPRING EQUINOX.
That’s a lot of information in one sentence, so let’s break it down into three parts:
- The Spring Equinox occurs on March 21st, when day and night are of equal length, marking the start of spring.
- The Paschal full moon is the first full moon on or after March 21st, the Spring Equinox. Incidentally, the name “Paschal” is derived from “Pascha”, the Aramaic word for Passover. Not important to remember, but VERY COOL.
- Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon.
Now let’s sum it up in reverse:
THE SPRING EQUINOX IS FOLLOWED BY THE PASCHAL FULL MOON WHICH IS FOLLOWED BY EASTER.
Simple enough, right?
A few other interesting facts about the Easter season are as follows:
LENT: From the Latin word for “fortieth”, Lent commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before beginning His public ministry. During Lent, many Christians prepare for the Easter celebration by either setting certain luxuries aside and/or adding spiritual disciplines such as reading or prayer to their daily routines.
- The beginning of Lent is marked by Ash Wednesday.
- The end of Lent is marked by either Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter or Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.
HOLY WEEK: the week between Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, and Easter Day. The four main events are as follows:
- Palm Sunday refers to a feast that commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
- Maundy Thursday — also called Holy Thursday — commemorates Jesus washing His disciples’ feet and His final Passover celebrated with them. (Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command”. Jesus told His disciples, “…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34)
- Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and His death at Calvary, or Golgotha.
- Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. From. The. Dead.
Interesting question and side note: Why is Orthodox Easter on a different date? Because Eastern Christianity follows the Julian calendar as opposed to Western Christianity which follows the newer Gregorian calendar. But not to worry or focus on our differences, we all celebrate the same resurrection of the same Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God.
Now that we’ve had a refresher concerning the upcoming Easter season, let’s get back to celebrating Easter in a new way this year. This Easter season, beginning March 2, Ash Wednesday, my co-author Anna Nash and I invite you to begin reading through the 21 chapters of the gospel of John with us, one chapter every 2 days until Easter, using our new devotional Easter Matters – How the Resurrection of Jesus Changes You as a guide. We invite you to discover along with us, more about Jesus and who exactly we are in relation to Him. If you’ve ever wondered why Easter might matter to you, the answer lies in the book of John. Join us in searching for the glorious truth about God’s Son and Easter and how the resurrection of Jesus can and will change you.
Click here to order Easter Matters – How the Resurrection of Jesus Changes You.