Dates and Origins of Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday Dates in 2017, 2018 and 2019
Easter Sunday is celebrated at the following dates:
- Sunday, April 16th 2017
- Sunday, April 1st 2018
- Sunday, April 21st 2019
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that happens on or soonest after the vernal equinox1. It is a Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is why it can also be referred to as Pasch or Resurrection Sunday2.
According to the bible, Jesus Christ rose three days after his crucifixion at the hands of the Romans3. This resurrection would have happened on a Sunday since he was executed on a friday3. The resurrection of Jesus is a central tenet of Christianity. According to Christian beliefs, Jesus appeared to many people during the following forty days before he ascended into heaven4.
Jewish Christians would have been the first to celebrate easter though direct evidence of a formalized feast was not observed until the mid second century AD5. Early Christians would have used the Jewish lunisolar calendar as opposed to the Julian calendar6. This tradition carries on to the current day and explains why easter does not have a fixed date. The first council of First Council of Nicaea established two rules for the observance of easter Sunday in 325 AD6. These rules were the independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity of the dates6. Explicit rules for the date have been legitimized through centuries of trial and error that led to various controversies over the years7.
For Christians, easter morning is usually spent at church and follows the 40 days fasting during the season of lent6. Traditionally, hardboiled eggs are decorated with different colors and a mythical easter bunny delivers candy and some presents to children8. Many U.S. cities celebrate easter Sunday with a parade9.
The eggs are meant to represent rebirth, just as Jesus christ was reborn8. The tradition of the an Easter bunny delivering gifts and candy to children started with German immigrants around the mid 17th century8. Because rabbits lay such large litters, they are an ancient symbol of fertility that is associated with spring.