Easter last year came unusually late in April but this year it will closer to its usual date. The next UK bank holiday is the Easter bank holiday where you can look forward to a four-day weekend.
When is Easter this year? Why does the date change?
Unlike Christmas, the Easter holiday is a movable date and can be any time between March 22 and April 25
This year, Easter Sunday 2020 falls on April 12, so Good Friday is therefore April 10, and the Easter Monday bank holiday is on April 13.
For kids, that means a two-week-long break for the Easter holidays – with most schools off from Friday, April 3, going back on Monday, April 20.
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Working out the date for Easter is somewhat complicated and is based on observations of the Moon
In early Christianity, different methods were employed by the various churches which often led to disagreements.
Those disputes continue today with Eastern and Western churches still to celebrating Easter according to different calendars.
However, on some occasions, the festivals end up falling on the same day.
Christians in the West say that Easter Sunday should always follow the first full moon after the spring equinox, usually on March 21 except this year when it falls on March 20.
Christians in the East use the Julian calendar, 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar used in the West, so the full moon and equinox are calculated according to a different date.
In 2020 the full moon is on April 8, which is also the date the Jewish holiday Passover starts.
Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus, which the Bible says happened around the same time as Passover.
The Jewish holiday usually starts the night of the first full moon after the spring equinox.
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Because the precise timing of observing the full moon can vary in each time zone, the Church instead calculates the date from the ecclesiastical calendar.
This divides 19 normal calendar years into 235 months of 30 and 29 days each, with the ecclesiastical full moon on the 14th day of each lunar month.
The “paschal full moon” – from the Aramaic for Passover – is the one that falls on or after the spring equinox on March 21.
Easter Day is the first Sunday after the paschal full moon – so if the full moon is on a Sunday, Easter will be a week later.
That means the earliest date for Easter is March 22, and the latest is April 25.
In 2000, Easter fell the closest to its latest possible date in recent times, April 23.
The next latest possible Easter will be in 2038 when it will fall on April 25.
The earliest Easter was in 2008 when it was on March 23.
Easter won’t be March again until four years’ time when it’s on the 31st.
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