We all appreciate the amount of chocolate that comes our way at Easter but trying to keep up with when Easter is can be a nightmare. Easter is an important Christian holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, unlike other fixed-date holidays such as Christmas, Easter falls on a different date each year. This can be a source of confusion and curiosity for many people. So why does Easter change every year, and why do we celebrate it?

When is Easter 2024?

This year, Easter Sunday falls on 31st March 2024. But that doesn’t mean it will ever fall on this day again.

Why does Easter change every year?

when is easter, why does easter change every year
Source: House Beautiful

The last few weeks have been, for anyone Christian, Lent. Lent officially ends on 28th March 2024, and Easter Sunday is 31st March. This is different from last year, and even the year before. But why? Well, the answer comes as a complicated surprise.

Easter can happen any day between March 22nd and April 25th. When thinking why does easter change every year, it’s all linked to the moon! It happens on the Sunday directly after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox (April 6th, according to the church). This tie to the lunar cycle is precisely why Easter moves each year, to make sure it keeps aligned with both full moons. It is tied to the cycle due to Easter’s inherent connection with the Jewish tradition of Passover.

According to the Bible, when Jesus found out he was to be executed, he orchestrated a ‘Last Supper’, wherein he broke bread with his disciples. This ‘Last Supper’ was, essentially, a Passover feast, but with an extra meaning behind it. Therefore, early Christians tied the two events together.

Why do we celebrate Easter?

why do we celebrate Easter? why does easter change every year

As a nation whose official religion is Protestant Christianity, we celebrate Easter as the anniversary (kind of) of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. The Bible tells of a series of events which lead to Pontius Pilate, a Roman ruler, calling for the execution of Jesus. Jesus found out about this, called The Last Supper, and then was crucified. However, several days after his death, people discovered his tomb – which was essentially a cave – was empty. Jesus had pushed the door from the tomb, and left. This is what we now refer to as Easter.

Despite this seemingly being a fixed event for Christians, it’s complicated when thinking why does easter change every year?

Why is it called Easter?

why does easter move
Source: The Daily News

There are two theories held by theologists and historians as to why we call the holiday Easter. One is that Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Eostre‘, which referred to the goddess of fertility and spring. Another is that Easter comes from the Latin phrase ‘in albis‘, which went on to be ‘Eostarum’ in German, meaning dawn.

Why the eggs and the Easter bunny?

when is easter, why does easter change every year
Source: Farmers Almanac

Nobody can say for definite why we have the Easter bunny and Easter eggs, but the theories are that eggs are a representation of birth, fertility, in part because they used to represent Eostre, and so got associated with the other themes of Easter. Likewise, the most common theory, according to History.com about the Easter bunny is that it started in Germany. German children used to leave nests out for Oschter Haws (Easter Hare) to lay colourful eggs in. Other theories reckon that a bunny was chosen because of their tendency to, well, go at it. Birth and fertility, remember? Find out more about why we celebrate Easter with eggs in our article.

So there we have it, whilst a lot of the Easter tradition is a bit mysterious and weird – we’re looking at you Germany – this is why we celebrate Easter, and why it moves around so much! For more insight into the history of Easter, have a read here. You never know, it might be a great one for the next pub quiz!

Last Updated on March 22, 2024