For many, Easter is usually the first holiday weekend of the year that comes with four straight off-days. But Easter is the most confusing of all the holiday dates. When is Easter 2018? Why do we experience different Easter dates every year? How does one determine the date of Easter for a given year? How is the date of Easter-related to the full moon, what do they have to do with each other? What is the Golden number and when does Easter fall 2018? This post highlights all you need to know about this crucial Christian celebration and the Easter traditions.
When is Easter on 2018?
Easter is never fixed, and it changes according to the dynamics of the lunar calendar. You may be planning a break with friends, a weekend visiting your family, or you’re just looking forward to enjoying the long weekend relaxing indoors. Or maybe you’re just curious about the religious origins of Easter celebrations and the events that unfolded during the holy week to make us mark the date. When is Easter 2018 calendar beginning? The key dates are highlighted next.
Palm Sunday : March 25
A huge section of Christians observes this day on the Sunday that comes before Easter to celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. It is referred to a Palm Sunday due to the fact that on the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, a mammoth crowd in the city spread palm branches on the ground to symbolize his kingship.
All through his three-year ministry, Jesus downplayed his messianic role and would go as far as telling those he had healed not to mention anything concerning the miracle to other individuals. However, Palm Sunday was an exceptional day, and his glory was loudly proclaimed by his followers.
Christians of today celebrate this day joyously and triumphantly to emphasize the glory of the Messiah. Some churches even spread palm branches around the sanctuary to commemorate the event. Some even go a step further to walk a donkey around the town as they wave palm fronds as a way of announcing the return of Jesus Christ.
Maundy Thursday: March 29
This year, this day falls on March 29. In Jesus’ time, it was the time for Passover, a Jewish celebration. Through the Passover celebration, Jesus and his disciples had a meal together. The custom involved roasting lamb (which has brought the Easter lamb tradition of today), wine, and bread. Note that this was the last meal that Jesus had before his death, currently known as the Last Supper.
The actions of Jesus Christ during this dinner session have a significant role in the Christian religion. During the meal, he gave the bread and wine to his disciples as a representation of his body and blood respectively. The term ‘Maundy’ is Latin for command, and Jesus commanded them to break the bread and wine together while thinking of him after he’s been crucified. This is what is known as Communion.
Good Friday, March 30
Good Friday represents the day when Jesus Christ died on the cross, which was the main significance of the Lent period. How do you call a day when someone died ‘Good’? The day got this term as a synonym for holy. Here, Christians remember when Jesus was flogged and while carrying the cross, was taken to Golgotha where he was crucified between two thieves, yet he had done no wrong.
The Christian faith uses the cross as a symbol of faith since Jesus was nailed to the cross and left to die.
Holy Saturday: March 31
This day that comes between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it’s referred to as Holy Saturday, and it has a part to play in the weekend. The idea of this day was to hold a service aimed at welcoming Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead the next day at dawn.
When is Easter Sunday? It's on April 1
This is the most important day in the Christian calendar church year. On this day, which comes three days after Jesus Christ died on the cross, Christians believe their savior rose from the dead. The day is usually referred to as the Resurrection Sunday. Here are the events of the day as highlighted in Luke: 24, New International Version (NIV).
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.”
Easter Monday: April 2
The day comes after Easter Sunday and usually has several names including Dyngus Day, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, and Bright Monday. This day is observed by numerous groups of Christians, primarily the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox traditions. In Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, the day marks the commencement of the Easter week and Bright Week respectively.
Different cultures observe the day in distinct ways. For some, it serves a solemn remembrance of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ that is marked by outdoor processions. Others take part in egg rolling competitions on this day. Another section, particularly siblings, and spouses, you will be woken up by a bucket of cold water, hence the name Wet Monday. Others just celebrate the day with large gatherings and polka festivals (Dingus Day).
Why does the Easter date change?
Easter is a feast day celebrated by Christians. These days are important in the life of both the saints and their master, Jesus Christ. Unlike most celebrations in the Cristian calendar, the dates for Easter are not fixed. This kind of dates is known as movable days. This means that the days do not fall on a particular date in the normal Julian and Gregorian calendars that usually follow the sun’s cycle. Instead, Easter dates are usually determined by the lunar calendar whose basis is on the phases of the moon.
Easter is expected to fall on the Sunday that comes right after the first full moon that comes after the Spring Equinox. This should be after the 20th of March. The March, or spring, Vernal Equinox refers to the period when the sun cuts across the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line that projects the earth’s equator into space. When will Easter 2018 be in Ghana? In the case of our country, Easter will fall on April 1.
So who came up with the decision on when the Easter dates should fall? Constantine I, the Roman Emperor convened a council of Christian bishops in AD 325. This was the first Council of Nicea, the first effort by Christians to get a consensus on the actual teachings of the church. It was at this council that a decision was made that Easter should come on the first full moon that comes right after the Spring Equinox, and it must always fall on a Sunday. That was how the date to represent death and Resurrection of Christ was settled at.
When is Passover and Easter 2018?
Sometimes, Easter and Passover celebrations coincide, and in some instances, they may even be weeks apart. Passover is a Christian holiday that commemorates the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt where they had been held as slaves. The celebration lasts a week in Israel, and among reform Jews and in other parts of the world, it’s held for eight days. Passover commences on the fifteenth day of Nisan (The seventh month of the Jewish calendar) and ends on the 21st day. Notably, Hebrew days begin and end at sunset, so the celebrations begin on the preceding day at sundown.
Here’s why the two days fall together
Every two to three years, the Jewish calendar requires an adjustment of the leap year. In a Jewish leap year, an extra 29-day moth is added before Nisan since this calendar year has fewer days than the solar year. This way, the Jewish calendar year will be realigned with the solar year’s seasons. Note that the Jewish holidays closely relate to seasons. For instance, according to the Torah, the Passover should be celebrated during spring, which happens to be the same period where Ester falls.