When Is Easter 2011? -- Consult the Moon, Not the Bible

Last year at this time (to the day, in fact), we were breaking out the Easter baskets and doing our egg hunt at my family lake house. If you feel like you're way behind on your Easter shopping and still need to bake that lamb cake, never fear. You're still three weeks away.

Say what?

Yes, for the first time in a long, long time, Easter is falling in late April, already more than a full month into spring. This could mean blooms on the trees, sun in the sky, and even maybe (God willing) a little warmth, too! 

I live on the East Coast in New England, and last Easter was the first time it was ever actually warm on Easter. That freak stint of 80-degree weather in early April completely spoiled us for what Easter could be if only it were warm. So this year I'm holding out hope for April 24.


So why are we celebrating Easter on April 24, which is the latest it has fallen in 68 years? The last time it fell this late was 1948. The next time it will fall this late will be 2038.

In both 1943 and 2038, Easter will fall on April 25, which is basically the latest it can ever be. The last time Easter was on April 24 itself was in 1859, and it will not fall again on the 24th until 2095.

We can all lay blame on that glowing orb in the night sky. Yes, it's the moon's fault.

The Easter date is calculated by choosing the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox and theoretically can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. This year, the spring equinox was March 20, but the next full moon isn't until April 18, which is a Monday. Therefore, Easter is six days later.

In 2012, Easter falls on April 8 and then on March 31 in 2013. But we are back to late April (April 20) in 2014.

I am trying to look at it as a positive. After all, it's much nicer to wear short sleeves and shorts on Easter than it is to be freezing and covered in snow. But planning Easter around the moon seems just a little pagan, no? Does Jesus know about all this?

Are you happy Easter is later?

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