Lifestyle How the Moon Affects Easter

How the Moon Affects Easter

The phases of the moon are fascinating. Did you know the moon affects many important dates in the Christian calendar, and Easter is no exception?

Unlike Christmas, which always falls on the same day of the year, the date of Easter can vary by more than a month from one year to the next.

What does the moon have to do with the date of Easter?

The Christian Church uses a combination of astronomical events and rules set in ancient times to determine the date of Easter. The most important date in determining the time of Easter is when the first full moon occurs after the vernal equinox. This can be tricky to figure out, especially since the vernal equinox dates vary by a day or so from year to year.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the first full moon that occurs after the equinox is called the Paschal Full Moon. When this happens, Easter will occur on the Sunday following the full moon. Which is created by being at a position opposite of the sun in the sky.

In 2022, the equinox occurred on March 20, so Easter was celebrated on April 17. It’s also possible that this year’s full moon happened before the ecclesiastical Vernal Equinox, which means that Easter will be held on a different date than it normally is.

This was because the full moon happened on a Friday, which is not a normal moon cycle for the spring equinox, and the ecclesiastical calendar did not account for this fact. The resulting confusion caused the Church to create a series of calendar rules, which would allow them to have a more accurate way to calculate when Easter could be observed.

The rule is that the ecclesiastical full moon is the 14th day of the lunar month occurring on or after March 21. However, ecclesiastical calculations made in the third century did not take into account some of the more complex lunar motions. This resulted in a confusing set of calendar rules that were used until the Gregorian calendar was introduced to replace them in 1582.

Another major difference between the Church’s ecclesiastical and astronomical dates is that the Church’s date of the vernal equinox is always March 21, even when the actual astronomical spring equinox is actually on a different day. Because of this, some churches have chosen to use the ecclesiastical equinox for their calculations, but the actual spring equinox date can often be a little bit earlier than what is calculated by the Church.

In fact, the ecclesiastical spring equinox in 2023 will fall on Monday, March 20, which is when the next full moon will be. That will make the date of Easter in 2023 be April 9!


Wendy Bjork, founder of is a pioneer in advocacy and mentorship.  Wendy is leading a global revolution of women walking in purpose and peace as she illumines their path ahead with the light of HOPE:  Harmony, Options, Peace & Empowerment.

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