What is Easter?

Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead (His Resurrection) after His crucifixion which took place on what we now term Good Friday.

Easter is usually celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon following the Vernal or Spring Equinox on March 21st. This can be any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. It is the most sacred of all the Christian holidays or celebrations.

Christ’s return (or rising) from death is called the Resurrection. According to the scriptures, Christ’s tomb was empty three days after His death, which is commemorated on Good Friday. His followers saw Him and talked to Him after this. Christians therefore believe that they have the hope of a new life (an everlasting life in Heaven) after their earthly death.

When is Easter?

Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25. The usual statement, that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox, is not a precise statement of the actual ecclesiastical rules. The full moon involved is not the astronomical Full Moon but an ecclesiastical moon (determined from tables) that keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical Moon.

The ecclesiastical rules are:

  • Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the day of the vernal equinox;
  • this particular ecclesiastical full moon is the 14th day of a tabular lunation (new moon); and
  • the vernal equinox is fixed as March 21.

Below are the dates for Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday from the years 2011 – 2015.

Good Friday
2011 – Friday, April 22th
2012 – Friday, April 6th
2013 – Friday, March 29th
2014 – Friday, April 18th
2015 – Friday, April 3rd
Easter Sunday
2011 – Sunday, April 24th
2012 – Sunday, April 8th
2013 – Sunday, March 31st
2014 – Sunday, April 20th
2015 – Sunday, April 5th
Easter Monday
2011 – Monday, April 25th
2012 – Monday, April 9th
2013 – Monday, April 1st
2014 – Monday, April 21st
2015 – Monday, April 6th

View the dates for Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday from 2016 to 2020.

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