Easter is an occasion to mark Jesus’s crucifixion and his subsequent resurrection.The Easter season begins on Ash Wednesday (February 14) which is the first day of Lent.
The season of Lent lasts for 40 days (excluding Sundays) and remembers the sacrifices Jesus made when he fasted in the desert.
Christians will generally fast for the 40 days or give up indulgent foods and vices.
The day before Lent begins – Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday – is a day for making pancakes to use up rich foods such as eggs and milk ahead of fasting.
Lent culminates with the Holy Week, which includes Maundy Thursday – the day of the Last Supper, Good Friday – the day which Jesus was crucified, and Holy Saturday – the day that Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.
Easter Sunday is the first day after Lent and celebrates Jesus’ resurrection.
In the UK, Mothering Sunday is celebrated three weeks before Easter Sunday.
Why does Easter change every year?
Easter Sunday always falls on the next full moon after the Spring Equinox.
As the full moon can be on different days in different time zones, the Church said they would use the 14th day of the lunar month instead – the Paschal Full Moon – and host Easter Day on the following Sunday.
Once the date of that moon is known, Easter Day and the Easter holidays can be determined.
Christians celebrate Easter on a Sunday, as it was the day of Christ’s resurrection, after he was crucified on a Friday two days before.
The Paschal Full Moon was chosen because of the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar, and the Last Supper (Holy Thursday) occurred on the Passover.
Therefore Easter is the Sunday after Passover.
It was determined by a council of Christian bishops that Easter Day would always be on a Sunday to commemorate the happy occasion.
Easter can falls as early as March and as late as April, as it is dependent on the year and calendar used.
Christians in the east may use the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar so may have a different date than Western Christianity.