When is Easter 2021 / what date is Easter?

March 11, 2021 3 min read

When is Easter 2021 / what date is Easter?

When is Easter 2021?

If you’re just after a very quick answer to the question:
'When is Easter in 2021?
The answer is:
April 4th
(the 4th of April for those of you in the UK!).


In Western Christianity, the date of Easter cannot fall outside a specific range of not earlier than the 22nd of March and not later than the 25th of April each year, and you can see the exact rules later on in this article.

Below, it gets far more interesting, so read on, as we tell you:

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What is Easter and what does Easter celebrate?

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is the Feast of the Resurrection, which according to Christian beliefs is said to have happened on the third day after his crucifixion.

Easter is based around the Jewish Passover, as the Last Supper is considered generally to have been a feast related to this and so dates Easter itself.

Early Christians argued about the date of Easter, which governs the date of all other moveable feasts. Before the Nicea therefore, Easter was celebrated on many different dates although it was always a "moveable feast" which means that it occurred on a different date each year.

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The Rules for calculating Easter dates

The following rules for calculating the date of Easter were eventually set at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD in an effort to finally pull Christian celebrations of the date together.

The Rules for Easter dates: as set at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD
Easter Day has to be ‘the first Sunday after the full moon, following the vernal equinox. If this happens to be a Sunday, then Easter day is the Sunday after.’ According to Pears’ Cyclopaedia, these rather antiquated rules have apparently been under consideration to provide a fixed date instead, but let’s hope we keep this rather quirky set of dates, shall we?!

There is a variation within the Roman Catholic Church traditions, where Easter is celebrated as an eight-day feast, which is called the ‘Octave of Easter’.

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When is Easter?

Year     Date
2021     April 4th
2022     April 17th
2023     April 9th
2024     March 31st
2025     April 20th



If you want to see how these dates are worked out, see the rules for Easter dates, above.

 

Other variations in dates

It is important to note that in Eastern Christianity a slight variation on the formula is followed and so Easter falls between April 4 and May 8 using the Gregorian calendar.

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The naming of Easter

According to Bede, Eosturmonath, which is now interpreted as the paschal month, was named after the goddess Eostre, the goddess of Spring and the festival of Easter was then named after this. There are some thoughts, however that since this goddess was not recorded before Bede, that he may have invented her for his own purposes. In addition, in the Anglo-Saxon calendar, the April lunar month was called Eostur and may have contributed to the naming.

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The Easter Bunny

It has also been suggested by Jacob Grimm (one of the Brothers Grimm) that the Easter Bunny comes from the "Ostern Hare". Although speculation, since many of the Grimm fairy stories have turned from nasty tales into sweet children’s stories, it is possible that the Ostern Hare could have become the Easter Bunny. However, it is more commonly believed to have originated among the German Lutherans where the ‘Easter Hare’ was a judge who evaluated whether children were well behaved or disobedient at the start of Eastertide.

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Easter date references

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Keith Saye
Keith Saye


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