LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Why Is Easter So Early This Year?

Happy Palm Sunday.

Have you ever wondered why Easter is sometimes in March, and then the next year might be at the end of April? I did a little research here, and it turns out that you can blame Pope Gregory the 13th. Greg, and a couple of his buddies (Lilius and Clavius), decided the current method 424 years ago.

Evidently, the aim of the Easter Dating Method is to maintain, for each Easter Sunday, the same season of the year and the same relationship to the preceding astronomical full moon that occurred at the time of Jesus' resurrection in 30 A.D.  A good goal, but very confusing. Maybe we can contact the current pope and suggest that Easter always be celebrated on the first Sunday in April.

Until that happens, you'll be glad to know that there are limits. Easter can never be before March 22 or after April 25. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives, since it won't happen again for another 220 years. Oh, and the last time it was this early was 1913.

Here are the dates for Easter for the next four years...

  • 2009 - April 12
  • 2010 - April 4
  • 2011 - April 24
  • 2012 - April 8