When Is Easter 2018 | How Is the Easter Date Determined?

Why Does The Date of Easter Change Every Year?

Easter Bunny
Pixabay

When is Easter 2018—and why does the date of Easter change every year? How do we determine the date of Easter? What does the date of Easter have to do with the full Moon? What is the Golden Number? Find all the answers to these questions below, as well as Easter traditions, folklore, recipes, and more!

When is Easter 2018? 

Easter is a “movable feast” and does not have a fixed date; however, it is always on a Sunday.

Year Easter Sunday
(Today’s Gregorian calendar)

Eastern Orthodox Church
(From the Julian calendar)

2018 April 1 April 8
2019 April 21 April 28
2020 April 12 April 19

What is Easter Sunday?

Easter is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar—and has been regularly observed from the earliest days of the Church.

Easter Sunday celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, following crucifixion. It marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, and the last day of the Easter Triduum (starting from the evening of Maundy Thursday, through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday), as well as the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year.

The resurrection represents the triumph of good over evil, sin, death, and the physical body.

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How is the Date of Easter Determined?

Would you believe that the date of Easter is related to the full Moon? Specifically, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or just after the vernal equinox. This full Moon is referred to as the “paschal full Moon.”

For simplicity’s sake, the Church has set a fixed date for the equinox, March 21, though astronomically, the vernal equinox may also occur on the 20th. The paschal full Moon always falls on the 14th day of a lunar month; because ancient calculations (made in a.d. 325) did not take into account certain lunar motions, it may differ slightly from the actual full Moon date.

Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

Eastern Orthodox Church

Certain Christian churches, such as many Eastern Orthodox churches, follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian, either for movable feasts or for all religious observances. In this case, the observance of Easter can occur between April 4 and May 8.

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What is the Golden Number?

Readers often ask us about the Golden Number, which was traditionally used in calculations for determining the date of Easter.

The Moon repeats the dates of its phases approximately every 19 years (the Metonic cycle), and the Golden Number represents a year in that cycle. The year of the cycle can then be used to determine the date of Easter.

To Calculate the Golden Number:

Add 1 to any given year and divide the result by 19, ensuring that you calculate to the nearest whole number; the remainder is the Golden Number. If there is no remainder, the Golden Number is 19. 

For example, to calculate the Golden Number for 2018, we take 2018 and add 1, resulting in 2019, then divide it evenly by 19, giving us 106 with a remainder of 5. Therefore, the Golden Number for 2018 is 5, meaning 2018 is the 5th year of the Metonic cycle.

Easter eggs

Easter Traditions and Folklore

An Easter tradition seen around the world is the coloring of eggs. Bright, artificial dyes are popular now, but some folks still use natural dyes, such as those made from onion skins or beets, to give their eggs a more natural, earthy look. In parts of Eastern Europe, it’s tradition to create intricate designs on the egg with wax or twine before coloring. Learn how to dye your Easter eggs naturally!

Easter folk symbols include:

  • Eggs, traditionally forbidden during Lent, symbolize new life. Read more intriguing facts and folklore about eggs.
  • The Easter Bunny recalls the hare, the Egyptian symbol of fertility.
  • The lamb is said to symbolize Jesus, as it embodies purity and goodness, but also represents sacrifice. 
  • The Easter lily, with its sheer white petals, symbolizes purity and innocence, as well as the resurrection of Jesus.

European rabbits.

Where Did the Word “Easter” Come From?

The exact origin of the word “Easter” is unclear. However, it may have derived its name from the Anglo-Saxon dawn goddess Eostre, whose feast was celebrated each spring at about this time.

Alternatively, it may have derived from words meaning “rising,” “dawn,” or “east.”

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Easter Recipes

From Rosemary Lamb to Greek Easter Bread (Lambropsomo), we’ve got tons of recipe ideas for the feast day! See our Best Easter Recipes.

Greek Easter Bread (Lambropsomo). Photo by Pasta/Shutterstock.
Greek Easter Bread. Photo by Pasta/Shutterstock.

Happy Easter!

From all the Editors here at The Old Farmer’s Almanac, we wish you a Happy Easter and a joyous spring season!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Easter

Jesus was crucified on a specific date and rose early the morning of the 1st day of the week, so moving the date around because of pagan feast and deity’s seems wrong, you don’t move people’s birthdays or anniversaries or remember those who have passed away on different days, I think the date of Jesus death and resurrection is important!

Jesus' execution occurred

Jesus' execution occurred during the Passover weekend, hence why he was not left on the cross. The date of Passover is set by the lunar cycle. In pre-modern times, setting a specific date for an anniversary, ignoring lunar cycles and equinoxes would be as odd to them as moving the dates are to us. The Easter date tradition is 1900-odd years old. The calendar we currently use was invented only in 1582 and not in use in English North America until 1752. George Washington was born on February 11, 1732. However, after the Calendar Act of 1750 was enacted, the calendar was shifted to cohere more closely to the actual length of the orbit of the Earth around the sun. Thus, George Washington's 20th birthday was February 22, 1752 on the new (Gregorian) calendar.

Easter

Thank you for all the information on Easter and all the comments we are still able to read from years ago on Easter. I have learned a lot about different religions and their celebration practices. So thank you for this education and information.

Easter dates.

Years ago my daddy told me Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 4th full moon after Christmas. Use to a person could get a free calendar that had all the moon's, holidays, etc listed, from their bank. I checked my calendar every year and my daddy had it correct. It wasn't that I doubted him.....I had to see it for myself. I told this to lots of people and they doubted me.....so I showed them on my calendar.

Easter

The origin of Easter comes from Ister the Egyptian goddess of Sex both egg and rabbit are symbols of fertility

EASTER

Easter originate from the christiandom in order to remember our lord suffering, death and resurrection.

Tell all about ester

Tell all about ester

symbols

that is a nice picture of the lamb and cross, what is the meaning?

Easter symbols

Hi Victoria, The lamb is a very popular Easter symbol. In Christianity, the lamb represents Jesus Christ in the Bible. The lamb was considered a sacrificial animal; during the Crucifixion, Jesus Christ’s life was sacrificed. Today, roast lamb is also a traditional Easter dinner dish. You’ll also see lamb cakes as centerpieces, too. Hope this is helpful, the OFA

Easter significance

The lamb signifies multiple things within Christianity.
1. In the Old Testament story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, God commanded they sacrifice a lamb to God and smear its blood on the doorframes of their homes so the destroying angel would spare their firstborn (Exodus ch. 12). This is the origin of the Passover Lamb and feast. According to the Gospels Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross the morning after the Passover feast.
2. The Gospel of John calls Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
3.Throughout the New Testament Book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse of John) Jesus is also referred to as a lamb.

The cross is the most recognized symbol of Christianity due to its significance within Christian teaching. Jesus was executed by the Romans in Jerusalem the morning after Passover. That's not where the story ends. Jesus claimed he was the Son of God with the frailties of humanity mixed with the holiness of God. After he died, Jesus rose from the dead on his own as proof of who he claimed to be and that he conquered death itself and brought reconciliation between God and humanity for all who pledge to follow after Jesus' teachings.

These events are observed by Christians as (Maundy Thursday (Last Supper and Jesus arrested), Good Friday (Jesus crucified) and Easter Sunday (Jesus emerged from the tomb).

For more information about these events and their significance for humanity I would suggest reading through the Bible books Mark or John, and Romans or 1 John and talking with a leader of a church.

The Passover lamb was not a

The Passover lamb was not a sin offering in Judaism.

So, if I want to function in

So, if I want to function in the American culture, which Easter date do I follow?

In America Easter and other

In America, Easter and other religious holidays are always figured using the Gregorian calendar.

Easter in Ukraine is

Easter in Ukraine is celebrated on the 5th May 2013 as is in the UK. Ukrainians 1st/2nd/3rd Generation born are Greek Catholics, therefore follow the Julian calendar for both Chrsitmas and Easter. Xpucmoc Bockpec to fellow Ukrainians around the world!

I'll type it phonetically, we

I'll type it phonetically, we pronounce it
sreh-ken, boh-sheik.
You have to pronounce the verbs in the "short" sound, "boh" is not like "bow", not so much "oh" sound, shorter than that.
And "sheik" should have a bit of "z" sound to the "s".

Literal translation means, "Lucky Easter".
It's a term that is used like "Happy Easter" or "Merry Christmas" that people say to each other during the holiday.

BTW, in the Orthodox slavic/Russian language we don't use the word "Easter", it's more like above "boh-sheik".
Interestingly in Italian is "buona pasqua".

Here's how to say "Happy Easter" in 10 other languages:
French Joyeuses Pâques
German Frohe Ostern
Italian Buona Pasqua
Spanish ¡Felices Pascuas!
Dutch Vrolijk Pasen
Polish Szczęśliwej Wielkanocy!
Danish God påske
Portuguese Feliz Páscoa
Catalan Bona Pasqua
Romanian Paşte Fericit

Notice the German version, Frohe Ostern.
And you see where the English/American "Easter" comes from as German has a major influence on English.
And, you also see "Ostern" as related to the northern Europe Saxon goddess
Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre).

The modern world is woven
from ancient threads.
It can not exist without them.
That's why we need to know what those threads are and where they come from in order to know ourselves.

Thank you for this posting,

Thank you for this posting, it is really informative. But the last 5 verses are just awesome. I am not sure if they are someone else's creation that you are quoting, or you created them.... simple poetry and oh so true - in perpetuity. My, nice !

Good to know!

Thank you for posting the information about Easter greetings from around the world!

Its fun to know how

It's fun to know how pascha (Easter) is determined. I have learnt a lot. For us in Uganda, we use Gregorian calendar. Thank you!

Romanian orthodox and

Romanian orthodox and Romanian greek catholic celebrate Easter on 5 may. Only roman-catholics celebrate Easter on 31 march.

Why is the calendar going

Why is the calendar going backwards instead of forward if Easter was on April 8, 2012 than that would mean that Easter would be April 16, 2013, instead of March 31, 2013???????

I'm confused. The nominal

I'm confused. The nominal (not astronomical) Julian equinox is Julian March 21, which is Gregorian April 3. Then the full moon after that is Gregorian April 25 and the Sunday after that is April 28. Where does the extra week come from? What am I missing?

Why isn't Easter celebrated

Why isn't Easter celebrated on the 19th day of the month of Nissan. Which would be four days after the start of Pesach?

In 2013, the 19th day of the

In 2013, the 19th day of the month of Nissan translates in the Gregorian calendar to Saturday, March 30.

According to the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), Easter must occur on the first Sunday after the paschal full Moon, which is the first full Moon after the vernal equinox. The full Moon and equinox dates are calculated, not actual. The vernal equinox for the purpose of calculating the date of Easter is always set to March 21. The paschal full Moon is also a tabulated date; it may not match the exact date of the astronomical full Moon--a difference of a day or so.

On occasion, such as happened in 2008, Pesach will fall after Easter, rather than before. This is due in part to calculation differences between the Hebrew lunisolar calendar and the Gregorian solar calendar.

Can Easter ever occur on

Can Easter ever occur on April 1, April Fools's Day?

Yes; this applies to

Yes; this applies to calculations for Easter using either the Gregorian and Julian calendars. But, it does not apply to Julian calendar dates converted to Gregorian calendar dates.

In many Western Christian denominations that use the Gregorian calendar, for example, Easter can fall as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. It has fallen on April 1 a few times, the last being in 1956. It will occur again on that date in 2018.

According to the Julian calendar, the last Orthodox Easter on April 1, for example, was in 1996. The next will be in 2058. However, when these dates are converted to the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Easter falls on April 14 for these years.

Note that when converted to Gregorian calendar dates from the Julian calendar dates, Orthodox Easter can not fall earlier than April 3.

Actually, Easter Orthodox

Actually, Easter Orthodox Easter cannot fall earlier than the Gregorian date of April 4, because the Gregorian date of April 3 corresponds to Julian calendar March 21, and Orthodox Easter falls on the first Sunday that occurs AFTER the paschal moon occurring on or after Julian March 21. (This is similar to Western Easter never occurring before March 22 Gregorian.)

Yes, easter can fall on April

Yes, easter can fall on April 1. According to the gregorian calender,easter for 2018 will fall on April 1.

It is perfectly OK with me if

It is perfectly OK with me if you give coverage to Easter next week. I ask only that you also give coverage to Pascha (Russian, Orthodox, Eastern European) --- which will occur on 5/5/2013 this year. Isn't it nice that we orthodox Christians get such nice sale prices for our Easter Lilys and Easter candy) Not that candy and flowers are the purpose of this most important religious feast.

Easter has nothing to do with

Easter has nothing to do with Passover. Passover 2013 is 25th-26th, Easter is 31st. Therefore, Easter cannot be the day of the resurrection. Easter (Is-thar) is a Babylonian deity and the holiday is a pagan practice.

I agree completely, and

I agree completely, and Passover is properly calculated using the original Calendar. The Luni-Solar calendar based on each month starting with the New Moon. Passover is always the 14 day of the month. Sabbath's are always the 8th 15th 22th and 29th.
There was no Julian or Gregory so their fictitious calendar's had not been "invented" yet.

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