It’s Good Friday, one of the holiest of days in the Christian calendar, though probably just another holiday for many in an increasingly secular country.
But why is it so late this year?
…The Bible doesn’t spell out the exact date that Easter occurs on, but it does say that Jesus was crucified during the Jewish holiday of Passover. According to the Catholic magazine America: The Jesuit Review, in the year 325, the Council of Nicaea decided to celebrate Easter “at the very time of Jesus’ Passion,” the Christian term for the final days of Jesus’ life before his death and resurrection. The Jewish calendar is calculated based on lunar months, so to link Easter with Passover, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be observed “on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.” Basically, because the moon affects when Passover falls, the moon also affects when Easter falls.
But this year the northern hemisphere equinox and the full moon we’re on March 20th. So why wasn’t Easter last month?
Back in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII made some additional rules about calculating Easter’s date when introducing the Gregorian calendar. According to Space.com, these rules said that Easter would always fall between March 22 and April 25 — and that the Catholic Church would always mark the vernal equinox on March 21, even though the astronomical vernal equinox can be anywhere from March 19 to March 21. This year, the first full moon after March 21 was on April 19, which is a Friday — meaning that this Easter will be on the following Sunday, April 21. . .
That’s this weekend.
Whether or not you are Christian, May your Easter be a blessed one.