So This Is the Reason Why Easter Changes Dates Every Year

Those who celebrate Easter know that its date is always changing. While it might fall early some years, it could happen late the next. Take this year, for example! Last spring, Easter fell on April 17, 2022. However, Easter 2023 is on Sunday, April 9. Not that this is too much of a difference—but sometimes, the earlier or later Easter falls on the calendar can dictate the weather, depending on where you live. This is important for those who wonder if it'll be warm enough to have their Easter brunch outside or if they'll have to resort to eating their Easter dishes indoors. And the same can go for that Easter egg hunt!

Easter's constant change of dates year-to-year can be just a tad bit confusing. But knowing why it does can be helpful. And not that we're trying to make it any more complicated, but there are also a bunch of other holidays connected to Easter whose date also changes, depending on when the spring holiday falls. Before we confuse you anymore, we'll break it down for you. Keep reading for everything you need to know about why Easter changes its date every year.

close up of female holding an easter egg basket and hiding eggs in the grass on an out of focus background selective focus easter concept
jean meyntjens - Getty Images

How is Easter's date determined?

It's a combination of things. For one, some of it has to do with the moon. (Say what?!) To make it a little more simple: Easter consistently falls on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. For those who aren't familiar, the Paschal Full Moon is the first full moon after the vernal equinox. And if we're getting technical, this could happen within the span of a month. (We're talking any time between March 22 to April 25!) So you can see why some years it falls early, while others it falls a bit late!

If you're wondering why Easter relies on the Paschal Full Moon, the answer dates back centuries. The moon's cycles have had a key role in determining important dates since ancient times. In fact, it's still a prime resource for determining the date of Jewish holidays!

How does this impact other spring holidays?

Good question. Easter's constant date change is why the Lent season, including Ash Wednesday, also changes every year. Ash Wednesday (which begins Lent) is always 46 days before Easter (but lasts 40 days)—with Easter's date being determined first. So, that means that Ash Wednesday is on February 22 and the Lent season will end on Thursday, April 6.

(Psst! Read Alex Drummond's take on how she's doing Lent this year!)

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