The Date of Easter
Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by Emperor Constantine. It issued the Easter Rule, which states that Easter shall be celebrated on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. However, a caveat must be introduced here. The “full moon” in the rule is the ecclesiastical full moon, which is defined as the fourteenth day of a tabular lunation, where day 1 corresponds to the ecclesiastical New Moon. It does not always occur on the same date as the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical “vernal equinox” is always on March 21. Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.
(Reprinted from newsletter of Westchester Pulaski Association, Inc.)