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Dear Gramps,

Why is it that Easter changes dates every year like the Chinese New Year?





Dear RN,

Up until the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the anniversary of the Savior’s resurrection was celebrated on various dates in the spring of the year. The Emperor Constantine, in an attempt to unify the various opposing factions of his empire, particulary the Christians and Pagans, unified their holidays. He did this by recognizing the dates of the pagan holidays and imposing on them Christian names and practices.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. Since this pagan holiday occurred at about the same time as the Christian observance of the resurrection, those two feast days were united. Although the Christian practice of the holiday was to commemorate the resurrection of the Savior, the name, Eastre, was retained. The name was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter. However, the dates that determined the pagan holiday that was its predecessor remained in force.

Therefore, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon that happens on or next after the March equinox (March 21). The extreme dates for Easter are March 22 (in the years 1818 and 2285) and April 25 (in the years 1886, 1943, 2038). 5,700,000 years are required for cyclical recurrence of Gregorian Calendar Easter dates. The most common of the 5700000 dates is April 19.

It may be of interest to note that both the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are hold-overs from early pagan practices. The symbol of the Easter bunny originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.

The egg has been a symbol of rebirth in most cultures from the earliest times.. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.







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