Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter Formula

I know Easter Sunday has already come and gone this year, but there's something about Easter that I only learned recently that I wanted to throw out there.

So, I have never really understood how the Sunday for Easter is chosen, and it never did occur to me to look it up. Well, this year, I did. To my surprise, it's a bit complicated as far as holidays go. Is this something that most people just know? Or, do most just refer to a calendar for the magic date?

Anyway, here's how you figure out which Sunday of the year is going to be Easter...

Easter is determined to lie on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (spring) equinox. Note that the vernal equinox date used for the Easter formula is March 21, which means no adjustment is made based on astronomical truth (sometimes the true vernal equinox falls on March 20). It follows that there's a fairly wide range that Easter Sunday can occur (March 22 through April 25). Also, one thing to note, vernal equinox will be a bit of a misnomer for those in the Southern hemisphere, so keep that in mind before you offend the Aussies.

Seriously? If you didn't know this Easter Sunday formula before and someone told you of a religious holiday that is selected based on the above rules, wouldn't you think it was some spooky pagan event? I mean, really? Anyway, I just find it a bit humorous. Maybe you will too. Silly rules for a moving holiday.

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