When Is Easter 2020? Here’s Why Its Date Changes Every Year
Everything you need to know about Easter Sunday
- Easter Sunday changes dates year-to-year. This year, Easter is on Sunday, April 12, 2020.
- The holiday coincides with the vernal equinox, which welcomes spring in the northern hemisphere.
- All of the celebrations leading up to Easter also change dates.
Springtime is the signal for many things: warmer weather, fresh flowers, and for those who celebrate, Easter Sunday. Unlike Christmas, which, as most of us know, falls on December 25 every single year, Easter, and the celebrations leading up to it, change dates. Lifelong and brand new celebrators alike might wonder, “How the Easter date is determined?” Which is why we’ve answered your burning questions about why Easter changes dates.
Of course, to know when Easter is this year, you can figure it out by taking a step back and figuring out Ash Wednesday’s date. The main event occurs six and a half weeks after Ash Wednesday, encompassing the 40 days of Lent. But to discover what causes all these dates to fluctuate year after year instead of staying in one place like many other annual holidays including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to look to the sky for your answer. We’ve investigated the reasons behind the ever-changing date, which includes the phases of the moon, the vernal equinox, and the Gregorian calendar. You might not have realized just how much goes into how Easter Sunday is determined each year!
How is the Easter date determined every year?
First off, it’s important to know that though the exact date of Easter changes each year, there’s a definite period in which the day occurs, and that’s March 22 through April 25 (in the Gregorian calendar, not the Julian calendar). Easter always occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. So, what’s the Paschal Full Moon? It is the first full Moon that occurs after the vernal equinox, which signifies the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.
Now, this is where things get a little tricky. The church has decided to always—and forever—recognize the spring equinox on March 21. Technically speaking, however, the equinox could actually fall on Thursday, March 19—like it does this year. But if you’re acknowledging the equinox on March 21 like the church, the first full moon after that date isn’t until April 8. The following Sunday—April 12—is Easter this year.