Early Easter is once in a lifetime

2008-03-21 00:00

This Easter will be a once in a lifetime experience — literally.

According to the experts, this year’s Easter is the earliest that any of us are likely to see for the rest of our lives.

Apparently, only the very elderly (those aged 95 and above) have ever seen it this early and none of us will ever see it a day earlier.

The next time Easter will be this early — on March 23 — will be 220 years from now in 2228. The last time it was this early was in 1913, which explains why those who are pushing 100 are the only ones likely to have been around for this historic event.

The next time that Easter will be a day earlier — on March 22 — will be in 277 years from now, in the year 2285. The last time Easter was on March 22 was in 1818.

Easter is what is known as a “moveable feast”. It always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, which is on March 20. The dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that the Hebrews used to identify Passover, which explains why it moves around the Roman calendar that we use.

Just to complicate things even further, not even the Christian church itself can agree when to celebrate Easter! There is no record of even celebrating Easter until the second century AD and throughout history various churches have celebrated Easter at different times.

Most Greek Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 7 and New Year’s Day on January 14. This gap generally causes Easter to be celebrated on the same Sunday in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches only once every three or four years.

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