Have you ever wondered why Easter (which is the Christian holiday that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb) doesn’t have a set date on the calendar, such as how Christmas is always Dec. 25?
Well, the short answer is because the date of Easter is dependent on solar and lunar cycles.
Specifically, Easter generally falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the March equinox.
Equinox translates into “equal night,” and it occurs when the earth is in such a position that the length of night and day are nearly equal in all parts of the world.
This is because the Earth’s axis is not lifted either toward or away from the sun, but is rather perpendicular to it.
The March equinox is significant because it marks the official first day of spring.
It is also important as it relates to Easter because early Christians wanted Easter to fall after the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is always celebrated on the first full moon after the spring equinox.
So, that’s why Easter changes dates each year and why it all depends on the date of the March equinox.
And this year—for the first time since 1945—Easter Sunday is going to fall on April Fool’s Day.
That’s right, when the Easter Bunny drops off baskets full of chocolate eggs and Peeps, he might also play a few pranks on you!
Interestingly enough, this also means that this year’s Ash Wednesday is also going to coincide with another holiday—Valentine’s Day.
Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of Lent for Christians, and it is a time to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.
Hence, Ash Wednesday is always 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays, as fasting is not required on Sundays).
Many Christians do partial fasts during the Lent, such as not eating meat, or giving up television, chocolate, alcohol or other indulgences.
Uh-oh. It will be tough to give up chocolate on Valentine’s Day, arguably one of the most chocolate-y days of the year.
So, if you plan to observe Lent and are going to give up chocolate or other sweet treats, make sure you buy yourself some V-day candy a little early this year!