Many are familiar with the history of Easter, as the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead which follows the forty-day period of fasting known as Lent. However, many may not be aware of the complex way in which the day on which Easter falls is chosen.

Unlike most holidays in Canada, Easter does not fall on a fixed date on the calendar. Rather, Easter is considered a “moveable feast” in the Christian tradition. The First Council of Nicaea in 325, called to establish consensus on theological issues across the church, decided that Easter would fall on the first Sunday following the paschal (Passover) full moon, or the first full moon to follow the March equinox, better known as the First Day of Spring. While this can fall between March 19 and March 22 each year, the Roman Catholic Church has used an approximation of March 21 to calculate the date of Easter since 1583. This means that Easter can fall as early as March 22 (if a full moon falls on March 21) or as late as April 18 (if a full moon falls on March 20—missing the equinox by one day!). This year, the paschal full moon fell on April 4, putting Easter on April 7.

No matter where it falls, Easter provides a welcome holiday to Christians and non-Christians alike.  The Easter Bunny, today a highly recognizable symbol, originated among German Lutherans as a judge-type figure who evaluated whether children were good or disobedient and brought candy and coloured eggs to those who passed the test. Easter eggs are particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where 80 million are sold each year—more than one per citizen!

We at NorthBridge Consultants would like to wish everyone a happy and yummy holiday!