What day is Resurrection Sunday (Easter)? And how is it determined?

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You have probably noticed that the date for Resurrection Sunday (“Easter”) varies considerably from one year to the next. This chosen date comes from a formula established by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. You can use the formula to verify the date for Resurrection Sunday each year.

Asian lily.

First, find the vernal equinox, or first day of spring (about March 21-22), on a calendar that lists basic astronomical data. Then look for the next full moon, usually indicated in a corner box of the calendar. Resurrection Sunday will then fall on the following Sunday.

According to this rule, the latest possible date for Resurrection Sunday is April 25, next occurring in 2038. The earliest is March 22, in 2285. Most often, Resurrection Sunday comes during the first week of April.

For merchants, the changing date of Easter is inconvenient for their annual planning of sales and inventory. However, it is pleasing to realize that this special day is not determined by commerce but by the movements of the sun and moon. This agrees with the divinely ordained purpose of heavenly lights as markers for times and seasons (Gen. 1:14).

Resurrection Sunday Date Calculator

Author: Book: Astronomy and the BibleDr. Donald B. DeYoung—adapted from Astronomy and the Bible: Questions and Answers, 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000, 2010), 176 pp.

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