Every year, I hear someone complaining about how Easter is too late, or Easter is too early. And the number of people that complain about how Easter can’t seem to have a fixed date… Every year, I respond to these complaints in the same fashion: You do know how Easter is calculated, don’t you? The blank stares are borderline hilarious.
Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. (Okay, the Spring Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere.) It’s a simple calculation really, or at least one would assume so, until they discover the truth behind the equation. While the description appears to be one based on astronomical events, it’s really not.
An equinox is the time of year when we have the same number of daylight hours that we do nighttime hours. However, the astronomical equinox can vary from the recognized date by up to two days every year. Notice I said recognized date. The equinox is nominally considered to be March 20th, however, for countries such as New Zealand, this date is actually the date before the astronomical equinox. For American Samoa, it’s the date after.