News World Easter 2018: When is it and why the date changes

Easter 2018: When is it and why the date changes

Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century.
Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century. Photo: Getty
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Unlike many festivities, the date of Easter changes every year in Australia, making it a movable feast day.

When is Easter 2018?

The feast day will occur on Sunday, April 1 this year.

  • Good Friday, March 30
  • Holy Saturday, March 31
  • Easter Monday, April 2

It is a celebration that spans over a 50 day period. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday.

Why does the date of Easter change?

In AD 325, the Council of Nicaea (a group of Christian bishops) set the date of Easter as the Sunday after the paschal full moon.

The name ‘paschal’ is a transliteration of the Aramaic word meaning Passover, which occurs after the vernal equinox.

A vernal equinox is when Earth’s plane equator passes through the centre of the Sun’s disk.

The Council of Nicaea decided that it must be held on a Sunday because it was the first day in which Jesus rose from the dead.

The Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325.
The Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325. Photo: Getty

Simply, it is always held on the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21.

This means that it can occur as early as late March or mid April on different days in different time zones.

Why do people celebrate Easter?

In the Christian calendar, it is one of the most important days as it is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It also makes the end of Lent which is the 40 day period of fasting which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Those who don’t celebrate the feast day, can spend the long weekend gathering with family and friends.

Why do we eat eggs?

According to Christianity, Jesus Christ was resurrected on Easter Sunday meaning the egg is a symbol of new life, rebirth and fertility.

Others believe that the egg dates back to ancient pagans in Europe.

They observed the equinox and linked it to the return of the sun God, demonstrating a rebirth of light.

The decoration of eggs is believed to date back to the 13th century.
The decoration of eggs is believed to date back to the 13th century. Photo: Getty