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Why The Date Of Easter Varies

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar, but is, in fact, linked to the Jewish Passover as the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus occurred at the time of those observances.

Early Christians relied on the Jewish community to determine the date, but by the late 3rd century some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with what they took to be the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar.

Eventually, the method of setting the date of Easter was established by the First Council of Nicaea, a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day ─░znik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in A.D. 325. This Council is historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.

The Council established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

The Paschal Full Moon refers to the first ecclesiastical full moon after the northern spring equinox. The name Paschal is derived from the Greek word Pascha which is itself derived from the Hebrew pesach, both words meaning Passover, the Jewish feast.

Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 regardless of the astronomically correct date, and therefore the Paschal Full Moon is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. Consequently, the date of Easter varies between 22nd March and 25th April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose 21st March corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to 3rd April in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4th April and 8th May.

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