Why Does the Date of Easter Change Every Year?

Every year, we celebrate Easter on a different day. Why is this?

Most holidays, like Christmas or New Year's, are connected with a specific date in the calendar. New Year's Day is always Jan. 1.  Christmas (in most countries) is always Dec. 25.

But Easter, when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, changes almost every year. Why is that?

We know from the Bible that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus happened right around or following the time of the celebration of the Jewish festival of Passover.  The Jewish people celebrated holidays based on a solar and lunar calendar, which meant the dates of holidays could move.

So the early Christians, in the year 325, determined that they should celebrate Easter at a time when the Jewish feast of Passover had already occurred.  Since Jewish feasts used the lunar calendar (when the moon was at full moon), the way to keep that consistent was to celebrate Easter connected with the lunar calendar. 

So Easter is celebrated each year generally (there are some fine points) on the first Sunday following the first full moon in Spring. So the date of Easter can be as early as March 22 and as late as April 25.

So now you know why the dates vary. But the important thing is to know the true meaning of Easter -- and that is celebrating that Jesus rose from the dead!