Easter 2023 is Sunday, April 9.
Easter (“Pascha” in Greek and Latin) is the “principal festival of the Christian Church, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion,” according to britannica.com.
Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon following the spring equinox. In 2023, the equinox was March 20, and the Paschal Full Moon is Wednesday, April 5.
Rules for selecting the date of Easter for western Christians, who follow the Gregorian calendar, were set by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. For the past nearly 1,800 years, Easter has been the first Sunday after the 14th day of the pascal lunar month.
Eastern Christians follow the Julian calendar, which means there are usually two separate Easter celebrations every year. (Eastern Christianity refers in general to Christian traditions and churches in Western Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus. Western Christianity developed in western Europe.)
The sun, the moon and the date of the Jewish feast of Passover are all part of the computus (Latin for computation) algorithm used to determine when Easter falls each year. There are even computus clocks and watches that automatically calculate the dates of Easter and other moveable church feasts.
“The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the second century,” britannica.com said.
CBS News said the English word Easter and its German counterpart, Ostern, come from Ostara (Anglo-Saxon “Eostre”), the Germanic goddess of spring. That may also explain why bunnies – symbols of fertility – are part of the Easter celebration. Easter egg hunts may date to the 15th century, possibly begun by theologian and Christian reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546).
The egg, which symbolized the rebirth of the earth in pre-Christian celebrations, came to be defined by early Christians as an Easter symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
The April full moon is also traditionally called the Pink Moon, which celebrates “the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulate … which also went by the name “moss pink,” according to almanac.com.