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Easter 2014: When is Easter Sunday in 2014? Why is Easter so late this year?

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Easter 2014 should be just around the corner, shouldn’t it; especially since the stores have been filled with Easter 2014 chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies for weeks. But Easter Sunday this year is still not for another three weeks, even though "for the last few weeks, people have been wandering into their local grocery stores, seeing chocolate Cadbury 'eggs' on display," reports Liberty Voice on March 31.

So when is Easter Sunday this year? It is on April 20, 2014.

Easter Sunday, which commemorates the end of the six-week period of Lent, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, since the date of when we celebrate the religious holiday depends on the lunar cycle, it changes every year. Generally, the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox is considered to be Easter Sunday. However, when mentioning “the full moon” it is not the astronomical full moon but the ecclesiastical moon which is determined by the church.

According the United States Naval Observatory (USNO), “the date for Easter shifts every year within the Gregorian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar is the standard international calendar for civil use. In addition, it regulates the ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. The current Gregorian ecclesiastical rules that determine the date of Easter trace back to 325 CE at the First Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. At that time the Roman world used the Julian Calendar (put in place by Julius Caesar).”

The reconstruction of the Julian calendar into the Gregorian calendar (and the establishment of new tables when Easter would occur) was completed in 1582 by the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Gregory XIII (thus the name Gregorian calendar). Today, the western (Roman Catholic and Protestant) Christian churches use the Gregorian tables for holidays, while many eastern (Orthodox) Christian churches use the older tables based on the Julian calendar.

According to the Gregorian calendar, Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. According to the Julian calendar, Easter can be celebrated somewhere between April 4 and May 8. This year, both calendars actually coincide and mark April 20 as the celebration for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter 2014 is only one of the Easter Sundays listed by USNO which shows all Easter Sunday dates from 1980 to 2024. Last year, Easter Sunday would actually have been today, March 31.

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