Have you gotten the feeling that Easter is really late this year? If so, it’s not just you. This year, Easter falls on April 24, the latest it has been celebrated since 1943, when it fell on April 25.
The last time Easter was celebrated on April 24 was more than 150 years ago, in 1859, and it won’t fall on that date again until 2095. Between now and then, we’ll see an April 25th Easter in 2038.
What’s going on, here? Easter and the many church holidays related to it — such as Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday — are called “moveable feasts,” because they don’t fall on a fixed date on the Gregorian calendar, which follows the cycle of the sun and the seasons. Instead, these days follow a lunisolar calendar, similar to Jewish holidays.
According to a Fourth Century ruling, the date of Easter is set for on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first Full Moon of Spring, occurring on or shortly after the Vernal Equinox. March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur on any given year, and April 25 is the latest.
A few years ago, in 2008, Easter fell on March 23, its earliest date since 1913. Easter will not be that early again until the year 2228.