1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

Reader Question: Why Does Easter Come Before Passover This Year?

By March 7, 2008

Follow me on:

A reader writes:

I know that Passover and Good Friday normally occur within days of each other. If I am correct, it is believed that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder with Christ being tried and crucified the following day.
I am aware that Good Friday is always celebrated on a Friday whereas Passover can be any day of the week.
What I don't understand is why this year they are a month apart.

And another reader speculates:

I thought that the Easter celebration was supposed to fall somewhere in closer relation to the Passover celebration. Does this have something to do with leap year?

The Last Supper was indeed the Passover; thus Holy Thursday, in the year that Christ was crucified, fell on Passover. That made Easter, the day that Christ rose from the dead, the Sunday after Passover.

Because Christians in different areas were celebrating Easter on different days, the Council of Nicaea, in A.D. 325, established a formula for calculating the date of Easter. That formula was designed to place Easter at the same point in the astronomical cycle every year; if followed, it would always place Easter on a Sunday after Passover. And indeed, that formula is still followed today.

Why, then, will Jews celebrate Passover beginning on April 19, 2008, while Western Christians will celebrate Easter on March 23?

The answer, as William H. Jefferys, the Harlan J. Smith Centennial Professor of Astronomy (Emeritus) at the University of Texas at Austin, explains, is that, since the standardization of the Hebrew calendar in the fourth century A.D., "actual observations of celestial events no longer played a part in the determination of the date of Passover." Thus, "the rule for Passover, which was originally intended to track the vernal equinox, has gotten a few days off."

The same thing has happened with the Eastern Orthodox calculation of the date of Easter. Because the Eastern Orthodox still use the astronomically incorrect Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar that was adopted in the West in 1582, the Orthodox will celebrate Easter this year on April 27.

With the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the West brought the calculation of Easter back into sync with the astronomical calendar. In other words, the Western date of Easter is the most closely aligned to the astronomical cycles on which the date of Passover is supposed to be based.

For more information, check out "How Is the Date of Easter Calculated?"

If you have a question that you would like to have featured in our "Reader Questions" series, send me an e-mail at catholicism.guide@about.com. Be sure to put "QUESTION" in the subject line, and please note whether you'd like me to address it privately or on the Catholicism blog.

Connect With Scott: Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters

March 12, 2008 at 11:18 am
(1) Sandra M says:

As a Catholic married to a Jew, I find this answer offensive. The reason Passover falls out in April this year is that it is a Jewish leap year and there are two months of Adar. To suggest that Jews calculate Passover incorrectly and that “WE” are correct is insensitive and unnecessary. It does nothing to enhance Catholicism and in fact diminishes it. Why could not the explanation that Jews and Catholics use different calendar be given? Different, not necessarily better?

March 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm
(2) Rabbi E. P. says:

Regardless of how insensitive it sounds, the author has a valid point. The fact is that the Jewish calendar is astronomically inaccurate.

March 12, 2008 at 11:44 am
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

Sandra, you’re reading too much into what I wrote. I never said that “Jews calculate Passover incorrectly”; they calculate it correctly according to the standardization of the Hebrew calendar in the fourth century A.D., as the distinguished astronomer that I quoted explains.

The fact that “We” (as you put it) are “correct” (as you put it) in our calculation of Easter has to do with the combination (as I discuss) of our following the formula developed at the Council of Nicaea and the Gregorian reform, which brought the Western calendar back into line with the astronomical calendar.

That makes no judgement about whether the Jewish calculation of Passover is “incorrect”; in fact, it’s obviously correct for those who celebrate Passover.

The formula created by the Council of Nicaea makes no reference to the calculation of Passover whatsoever. Many Catholics, however, erroneously believe that the calculation of the date of Easter is somehow based on Passover. My response simply explains how it is calculated–that is, without any reference to Passover at all.

March 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm
(4) Ralph Adamo says:

Mr. Richert’s explanation is partially correct. For the modern calculation for the date of Easter does indeed have no connection to Passover. However, his implied explanation that Easter preceeds the Passover this year because the Gregorian calendar is used, rather than the Hebrew calendar, is incomplete. He does not recognize that Easter is a pagan holiday and that the date is totally capricious. The name Easter is derived from the Goddess Eastre in Germanic paganism. If the date for Easter was in fact the date of Jesus’ resurrection after the crucifixion, then it would certainly have to made in reference to Passover, which was also Jesus’ last supper. Mr. Riechert is simply confirming the pagan nature of the holdiay, indicating that it has no connexion to the historical events of Jesus’ death.

March 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm
(5) Marie says:

Mr Adamo, Mr. Riechert confirmed NO SUCH THING. He made a clear explanation that i do not need to expand on, your claims have no merit in this conversation. The name may have been borrowed from some pagan holiday, the Christian Church subsumed many pagan holidays into our faith so that converting pagans could retain their celebrations, but they were realigned with true Christian Holy Days, and celebrated as such. Mr. Riechert explained why we celebrate the Resurrection on the day we do quite well, and it DOES have to do with the true day of Christ’s Resurrection. Learn some reading comprehension before you presume to know what someone is talking about and completely misinterpret it (purposefully no doubt). Good day.

March 19, 2008 at 8:40 pm
(6) sonia says:

It makes no sense whatsoever to celebrate Easter before Passover. This explains why Greek Orthodoxy is the fastest growing religion in the United States. The Catholic Church likes to tell people that they were the official church of the Roman Empire. On the basis of this assertion, they have tricked large numbers of people into joining the Catholic Church. It is not true at all. The Orthodox Church was the official church of the Roman Empire. The Catholic Church broke away from the Orthodox Church after Western Europe was overrun by barbarian tribes.

March 20, 2008 at 12:18 am
(7) Scott P. Richert says:

Sonia, it’s a very common misconception among Orthodox Christians that the date of Easter depends upon Passover (and must be after it). The misconception is so common, in fact, that Archbishop Peter, the bishop of Diocese of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America, wrote an article in 1994 to dispel this myth. You can find the text here: “The Date of Pascha,” by Archbishop Peter.

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has another document (also from 1994) explaining, in terms similar to those I used in this post, why Easter is related historically to the Passover, but why the calculation of Easter is separate from the modern calculation of Passover. You can find that article here: “The Date of Pascha”.

If you read both, you’ll find that they agree with what I’ve written.

As for the odd claim that “The Catholic Church likes to tell people that they were the official church of the Roman Empire,” I’m a cradle Catholic, almost 40 years old, who is quite well read in Catholic history and theology, and I have never once read anything that makes that claim. Rather, Catholic historians (and the Church Herself) state, quite rightly, that Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, seven centuries before the split between Rome and the Eastern Churches.

To speak of the united Christianity before 1054 as “Orthodoxy” is an anachronism.

I say all of this as a very pro-Orthodox Catholic who has spent over 20 years studying Patristic writings and Eastern Christian theology. The growth of Orthodoxy in the United States today is, I believe, overall a very healthy phenomenon. The Orthodox have a proper sacramental theology and a beautiful liturgy, and, as Pope Benedict reiterated this past summer, the Orthodox, unlike Protestant communities, are Churches in the fullest sense of the term.

There is a downside to the tremendous growth of Orthodoxy in the United States today, however. Much of that growth has come from the evangelical community (that’s a good thing), but many of those from that community who convert to Orthodoxy choose Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism, at least in part, because of a deep-seated aversion to Catholicism. That has led to an increase in tensions between Orthodox and Catholics in the United States.

Cradle Orthodox, on the other hand, while understanding their divisions with Rome, tend to be much more open to proper dialogue between the Churches.

April 21, 2008 at 11:47 pm
(8) Derrick Brown says:

Mr. Richert,

Pope Benedict last summer did state that Catholicism was the only true Christian Church. He made headlines around the world. Mr. Richert, I am definetly not a religious historian on dates but, how can it be that 2 of the worlds great religions(Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy) both have the dates wrong, and the Catholics always get it right? Someone told me that the Eastern Roman Empire’s(Byzantine Empire) capitol was indeed Constantinople, present day Istanbul, where the capitol of the Orthodox Church presently reigns and has reigned since the time of Constintine. I just cant imagine the Orthodox church getting the days wrong if it all started from there. And the Jews, how can they be wrong on the dates? They celebrated passover way before any of us!

April 9, 2009 at 10:55 am
(9) Marina says:

i am offended when you say that the eastern orthodox follow an incorrect calendar as i am coptic orthodox. it is not incorrect just merely a different calendar.

April 9, 2009 at 11:16 am
(10) Scott P. Richert says:

Marina, I did not say that the Orthodox follow an “incorrect” calendar; I said that you follow an “astronomically incorrect” one. That is a very important difference. No Orthodox clergyman will claim that the Julian calendar is astronomically correct today; the argument for continuing to use it has to do with tradition.

Thus, no offense was intended, and I would ask you to rethink the offense that you took.

April 12, 2009 at 9:57 am
(11) Shira says:

I see this article was written last year. My question, as it pertains to Easter/Passover 2009, is why do the Greek Orthodox wait until the first Sunday after Passover is completed to celebrate Easter? If Jesus was crucified on a Thursday and resurrected on a Sunday, and this year’s Passover began on a Wednesday, what is the reasoning for not celebrating Easter until the following week?

Also, you explain what calendars are used in order to determine the dates for the mentioned holidays, but not the process? I know Passover begins on the same day in the Hebrew calendar every year, but what in the other calendars determines when [the] Easter[s] are? Like, first Sunday after such-and-such…?

April 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm
(12) Terry says:

I am by no means an expert on this, but after 56 years as a practicing Greek Orthodox, my understanding is, Orthodox Easter in the first Sunday, after the spring equinox, after the full moon, after Passover.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Mr. Richert, how or why is the calender the Eastern Orthodox follow “astronomically incorrect”?

April 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm
(13) Scott P. Richert says:

Terry, Orthodox Easter is not calculated with reference to the modern Jewish calculation of Passover. This is a common misconception among Orthodox–so common, as I noted in comment #5 above, that Archbishop Peter, the bishop of Diocese of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America, wrote an article in 1994 to dispel this myth. You can find the link in that comment.

In other words, you don’t have to take my word for how the Orthodox Church calculates Easter: Instead, take the word of an Orthodox hierarch.

Shira’s question, by the way, itself proves that the claim that Orthodox Easter is pegged to modern Jewish calculations of Passover is incorrect. If that were the reason for the difference between Western Easter and Eastern Easter, then the two would coincide this year (2009), because modern Jewish Passover began on Western Holy Thursday, just as it did in the year that Christ was crucified.

There are some minor differences in the calculation of the date of the ecclesiastical full moon between East and West, but the major difference that accounts for the difference in the date of Easter is the continued use of the Julian calendar by the Orthodox.

How is the Julian calendar “astronomically incorrect”? Ask yourself this, Terry: Do you run your business life by the Julian calendar, or by the Gregorian one? I’ll bet it’s the latter.

Why? Simple: March 21 (the ecclesiastical date of the spring equinox) is, in the Gregorian calendar, March 21. However, in the Julian calendar, March 21 currently corresponds to April 3 in the Gregorian calendar–and the gap between the two calendars continually increases. In other words, if you ran your business life according to the Julian calendar, you’d currently be running about two weeks behind all of the rest of the businessmen in the Western world.

Why does the gap between the two calendars continually increase? Because the reforms of the calendar made by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 were designed to bring the Julian calendar (which was used until that point) back into line with the solar year. By continuing to use the older Julian calendar for their calculation of Easter, the Orthodox find their ecclesiastical spring equinox (March 21 according to the Julian calendar; April 3, according to the Gregorian equivalent of the Julian date) increasingly distant from the astronomical spring equinox (March 20, 2009, according to the Gregorian calendar).

April 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm
(14) Scott P. Richert says:

Shira, I explained the process for calculating the date of Easter in “How Is the Date of Easter Calculated?,” to which I linked in the article above.

The short version is very close to what Terry wrote, minus the common misconception that the calculation of the date of Easter has anything to do with the calculation of the date of the modern Jewish Passover. As I wrote in that article, “The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the 14th day of the paschal full moon, which is the full moon whose 14th day falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox.”

Both Catholics and Orthodox accept that definition. Neither, as Orthodox Church in America Archbishop Peter points out in the article I referenced in my reply to Terry, calculates Easter with reference to Passover. Indeed, as Archbishop Peter points out, such a calculation was expressly forbidden by the Fathers of the Council of Nicaea.

April 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(15) Scott P. Richert says:

Terry, you should also read the second article I linked in comment #5, from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. There, you will find this very clear and unequivocal statement, which agrees with everything I’ve written in this post and in these comments:

“Our observance of the Resurrection is related to the ‘Passover of the Jews’ in a historical and theological way, but our calculation does not depend on when the modern-day Jews celebrate. The reason why Orthodox and Western Christians celebrate at different times is because we still go by the old Julian calendar in calculating the date of Pascha, even though we go by the new calendar for all the fixed feasts (like Christmas and so on). Protestants and Roman Catholics use the Gregorian Calendar for everything.”

That same article also clearly explains what it means to say that Julian calendar is “astronomically incorrect”:

“Unfortunately, we have been using the 19-year cycle in calculating the date of the Resurrection ever since the fourth century without actually checking to see what the sun and moon are doing. In fact, besides the imprecision of the 19-year cycle, the Julian calendar itself is off by one day in every 133 years. In 1582, therefore, under Pope Gregory of Rome, the Julian Calendar was revised to minimize this error. His ‘Gregorian’ calendar is now the standard civil calendar throughout the world, and this is the reason why those who follow the Julian Calendar are thirteen days behind. Thus the first day of spring, a key element in calculating the date of Pascha, falls on April 3 instead of March 21.”

Again, these are Orthodox sources, so you don’t need to take the word of a Catholic (even a very pro-Orthodox Catholic such as myself) for it.

January 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(16) Christopher Palmer says:

This don’t make any sense! Easter is supposed to be the day Jesus was resurected! That date can’t just change every year, it has 2 be that date! Not just so it will land on a dam sunday!

February 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(17) Tim A says:

Mr. Richert:

Thank you for calmness, perseverance and saintly patience. It seems that you are reiterating these clear & concise, yet complex explanations over and over again and nobody is READING your actual words!

A personal reflection – as one who regularly celebrates both Passover and {Western} Easter at their respective times each year I have a vivid and vital sense of their separateness and value. Passover is not subsumed into Holy Thursday, leading to Good Friday and Easter; it is what is, with its own profound and ancient meaning and emotional impact. If these separate meanings are respected, there is no issue about the order of the holidays.

Yet these questions are infinitely simpler than “Health Care” and “Financial Reform”– what may we say about hope as we “go forward”?

The subject of dating the anniversary of an ancient event is difficult because

1] Religious calendars don’t tell you the REAL date of an ancient event; they only tell you when to celebrate the event. And calendars are human inventions, not divine. They change according to convenience, or for political reasons, and sometimes their “astronomical correctness” is, as you said, totally irrelevant.

The three calenders that you describe so well do not take each other into account. The fact that a cluster of dates came in a certain order 2000 years ago, does not mean that their observances will come IN THE SAME ORDER today! There are three groups of people who must decide!

A parallel problem — Shakespeare and Cervantes died in the same year, and on the same DATE, but not on the same DAY!! – - Julian and Gregorian were both in use “in illo tempore”, divided between England & Spain along Catholic-Protestant lines, of course. So what is the anniversary 400 years later? Well we just disregard the Julian date and call the Gregorian date “correct”, and so the anniversaries fall on different days. Cervantes’ anniversary has remained the same, but Shakespeare’s has had to move, because the Gregorian calender won out, and England now uses it.

2] In addition, these three calenders are all trying to date something that nobody knows the real original date of!!– there is no “real date” for Passover or Easter, any more than there is for Christmas. We don’t know the “real” date of Jesus’ birth, we just all agree to call it 2010 years ago. Historians will differ about it. And nobody is sure how old Jesus was when he died – so in what year was the original Holy Thursday anyway? And moreover we can’t go so far as to all agree on the actual day of the year anyway,[Dec 25 or ??], because somebody will call it heresy.

Most Christians observe the Sabbath on Sunday. But some denominations insist that the Lord’s Day is the day that He Himself designated {Saturday, the seventh day}, though NOT because the Jews also do it {God forbid}.
So what is the “real” Sabbath? Like much else it is decided by tradition, and there are diverse traditions, beyond which there is no appeal.

It’s America, we agree to disagree, and we learned in school that the days of religious civil wars are fortunately past, because these kinds of things are undecidable, and that is no problem. Good luck to us.

Thanks for your edifying writing on these questions which should not be thorny.

January 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm
(18) Ashley Groome says:

Its not a Jewish thing, or an Orthodox thing – the calendar that is used in Western Christian tradition and the secular world is the Gregorian calendar.

The formula used for calculating Easter is the Sunday following the first full moon following the equinox – its as simple as that.

Deal with it.

March 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm
(19) nicole says:

i wish easter would always be the 3 sunday of april every year it would be simpler for everybody it would be a fresh begening thank you nicole

March 23, 2011 at 11:23 am
(20) kate says:

i agree with you i mean i wish it would be that easy

March 23, 2011 at 12:14 am
(21) nmn,mnmn. says:

hey whats up i liked how much info you put but it doesn’t really answer the question i asked.

March 31, 2011 at 1:27 am
(22) thomas says:

Some people have a brain!; Some people are like the scarecrow!; Then there are the ones that have a brain, but are still like the scarecrow!!!!!!!!

November 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm
(23) Casey says:

How about you all just eat your food, drink your wine, bitch about your relatives and get back to work on Monday. Overreact much?

March 1, 2012 at 1:30 am
(24) michael says:

If we had no religion, we would have NO WARS! Just PEACE!

March 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm
(25) Scott P. Richert says:

Michael, perhaps you might want to study a bit of 20th-century history before making ridiculous comments.

March 5, 2012 at 10:35 am
(26) Twilight says:

I was looking up the date of Easter this year an scrolled down on this site. I am shocked!! I think about if our Lord was on this website, I would think HE would b so hurt an disapointed in all if you. All this who’s right an wrong about a date… Does it really matter what the date is? To my brothers an sisters is this really that big of a deal? I say love one another an “get over it” focus on the good an that Jesus died for us an is coming bac real soon. Are you ready? Do you need to ask forgiveness for anything? My My some of you are so touchy. Celebrate everyday!! Jesus is alive an HAPPY EASTER this whole season!!

March 13, 2012 at 12:46 am
(27) mj - an Anglican says:

Tim A and Twillight – bang on. Celebrate the event and quit fretting the date. Dates are relative. Events are real.

Scott – good work moderating a sensitive topic. Though why it is sensitive is a mystery to me. Jesus died. Jesus came alive. Exactly when? Only Jesus knows. We choose a date to all come together and celebrate the event. I don’t think Jesus really cares if we all get the date exactly right. So why do we devote so much energy worrying about it? It happened. We’re all the better for it it. Celebrate it.

March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm
(28) not on easter says:

Folks – We actually know what day Jesus died. According to astronomy tables published in the Canon der Finsternisse, by T. R. Oppolzer, Vienna 1887, Vol. II, p. 344, the date for the impalement of Jesus was Nisan 14, A.D. 33. The Scripture, at John 19:31, definitely indicates Jesus died on what to us is Friday, because the next day (Nisan 15) was said to be ‘a great sabbath,’ meaning that two legal sabbaths happened to fall due on the one Saturday, namely, (1) the regular weekly Jewish sabbath day according to Exodus 20:10 and (2) by the law of Moses, no matter on what day of the week it fell, the 15th of Nisan was always to be an additional day of rest, according to Leviticus 23:6, 7. Such a double sabbath falling legally due within the same twenty-four hours occurs only once every several years, thus emphasizing that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon according to the Scriptural accounts.

Those astronomy tables contain the eclipses of the moon dating way back to 1207 B.C. These tables prove that an eclipse of the moon occurred Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, Julian calendar (or April 1 according to our present Gregorian calendar), at six minutes past 3 p.m., Greenwich time. Since an eclipse of the moon always means a full moon and a full moon always occurs for a Nisan 14, this makes certain that Friday.

April 1, A.D. 33 (Gregorian calendar), is the Absolute date for Jesus’ impalement.

March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm
(29) not on easter says:

Of course we know, according to the prophecy in Daniel Ch 9, the Messiah’s ministry would last 3 1/2 years and that he was baptised at 30 years of age (Luke 3), The Biblical evidence linked to secular history also shows that under Caesar Augustus, more than one registration took place—the first in 2 B.C.E. in fulfillment of Daniel 11:20 and the second in 6 or 7 C.E. (Acts 5:37) Quirinius served as governor of Syria during both of these registrations, evidently occupying that position twice. Luke’s reference to the first registration places the date of Jesus’ birth in 2 B.C.E, most likely in the autumn as the shepherds were out of doors during night fall, not common practice during the winter months (Luke 2:1,2,8).

This is complimented by the astronomical tables noted above allowing the logical conclusion that Jesus died 33 1/2 yeas after 2 B.C in the springtime of the year 33A.D of the Gregorian calendar.

It is then quite simple to extrapolate each years subsequent corresponding date of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This years corresponding date for the observance of the death of Jesus Christ is Thursday, April 5, his resurrection 3 days later.

April 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm
(30) TRISH says:

It will not matter if you observe every religious event written or passed onto us, if you kept the commandments or if u did good to others, what matters is having a relationship with ‘HIM’. There is a difference between knowing about ‘HIM’ and having a relationship with ‘HIM’. When you have a relationship with ‘HIM’, everything becomes clearer, you become wiser and things are revealed onto you. ‘HE’ already knows us and to know someone, you need to have a relationship with that person. So have a relationship and get to know ‘HIM’ :)

April 16, 2012 at 12:39 am
(31) DESPINA says:

I don’t want to offend the catholic or western church, but we split because of new changes that the new leader (a pope) took on and they split from us. We are called Orthodox Christians for a reason. We have held our traditions unbroken and kept to the pure divine as it was given to us. I may not be an expert, but I believe that its not just a calender difference, but we also go by historical order. Easter can not be celebrated till after the last days of passover. Friday to Saturday are the last days of passover. Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, The Jews went on to celebrate the last of days of passover and then that Sunday Jesus was resurected. so it can never be before passover, or its like changing the order of what happened. Jews must be at the end of their holiday for Easter to take place. Now what gets me upset, is that the Greeks who celebrate Christmas with the catholics is wrong, because they are breaking away from the old calendrist. original tradition. Greek and Aramaic orthodox were the first of the Orthodox relgion which spread to others like Armeninans, Russians serbs Ethiopians and so forth, They all kept the tradition of Christmas in January. The epiphany the festive of lights is the actual day of Christs birth. The wise men came to Jesus that day, so that is why that is the actual day of Christmas. So little Christmas as most know it is the actual only day of Christmas. The pope made his own calender and this and other mistakes made us split apart.

April 16, 2012 at 12:44 am
(32) DESPINA says:

I don’t want to offend the catholic or western church, but we split because of new changes that the new leader (a pope) took on and they split from us. We are called Orthodox Christians for a reason. We have held our traditions unbroken and kept to the pure divine as it was given to us. I may not be an expert, but I believe that its not just a calender difference, but we also go by historical order. Easter can not be celebrated till after the last days of passover. Friday to Saturday are the last days of passover. Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, The Jews went on to celebrate the last of days of passover and then that Sunday Jesus was resurected. so itt can never be before passover, or its like changing the order of what happened. Jews must be at the end of their holiday for Easter to take place. Now what gets me upset, is that the Greeks who celebrate Christmas with the catholics is wrong, because they are breaking away from the old calendrist. original tradition. Greek and Aramaic orthodox were the first of the Orthodox relgion which spread to others like Armeninans, Russians serbs Ethiopians and so forth, They all kept the tradition of Christmas in January. The epiphany the festive of lights is the actual day of Christs birth. The wise men came to Jesus that day, so that is why that is the actual day of Christmas. So little Christmas as most know it is the actual only day of Christmas. The pope made his own calender and this and other mistakes made us split apart.

October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm
(33) Rabbi Seymour Christians says:

The REAL reason Easter occurred in March while Passover occurred in April is because Christians like to celebrate Easter and the end of Lent so they can go to Fort Lauderdale and take part in Spring Break activities like “Get Drunk With A Co-Ed.” Jews however cannot “party” like a drunken sailor on shore leave after Passover begins unless it’s Lag B’Omer, which occurs 33 days after Passover begins, Therefore, Easter had to occur in March otherwise liquor sales and condom sales would fall flat and the economy would slow even further down the pike.

December 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm
(34) invhand says:

I would like to offer a respectful, Jewish oriented comment on Mr. Reichert’s original answer.
The Jewish calendar is and has always been primarily a lunar calendar. The Christian calendar has been a solar calendar since the dates were standardized in the councils Mr. Reichert discusses.
The Jewish approach to reconciling the two involves a leap month, and that means that Jewish holidays bounce around a bit in the solar year. They are not drifting away, the difference disappears the next year. Reconciling a solar and lunar calendar necessarily involves some approximation. Each month in the Jewish calendar starts with a new moon so there have to be 12 or 13 months in a year, there cannot be 12.5!
The Christian dating of Easter is an attempt to tie the celebration to the date of Passover in a particular year – the year Jesus died. They use the vernal equinox as a reference event. Jews are attempting to celebrate a lunar holiday which coincides with the full moon. It is not and never was tied to the vernal equinox.
The standardization of the Jewish calendar really has little to do with the shift of a month some years. It sometimes lead to a discrepancy between the astronomical new moon and the celebrated new moon, but that is the matter of a day, not a month.

December 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm
(35) Dwight Osborne says:

Mr. Reichert,
The fact of the matter is that Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover. He was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits. These are Jewish holy days and are the days Christians should celebrate as such. You can use whatever calendar you choose to use. The fact remains that the Catholics paganized these holy days and changed the celebratory days to fit the pagan days. Catholicism and Greek Orthodox are both living in deception. Perhaps if you would follow the Bible and not your pagan traditions brought into the church by Satan, you would be able to be saved and follow God, instead of the father of your catholic church, Satan. Repent and trust in Jesus’ work and not your own. You are lost.

February 7, 2013 at 12:10 am
(36) Bernard says:

My my. What a bunch! Arguing over such trivia. The fact is, there’s no god, no historical evidence for the existence of Jesus, and religions, particularly the Abrahamic ones, are founded on bronze age myths and pagan rites. Grow up!

February 18, 2013 at 11:48 am
(37) Ed Edwards says:

I’ll bet Bernard changes his mind when his time is near. Foxholes, you know.

February 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm
(38) Najla says:

Jesus said at the the passover to break bread and drink wine in rememberance of him, he always keeped the passover which god said to keep forever, but now Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb. Easter is a pagen religion way before Jesus came, you are deceived if you think you are serving god following easter, easter eggs bunnies etc worshipping false gods. What did Jesus teach in doing in his remberance.

March 10, 2013 at 8:58 pm
(39) mildred m. wright says:

March 10, 2012

Hum..m…m, I’ve read it all. We all have so much to say. Some factual, some emotional, some comments combative, all some intense. I just hope that we all keep the spirit of the Celebration Alive! within our hearts. Take Care and enjoy the season. mmw54

March 30, 2013 at 10:32 am
(40) CURTISAKBAR says:


April 2, 2013 at 11:07 pm
(41) Fr. Achilles says:

Orthodox Easter

The determination of the date of Easter is governed by a computation based on the vernal equinox and the phase of the moon. According to the ruling of the First Ecumenical Synod in 325, Easter Sunday should fall on the Sunday which follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. If the full moon happens to fall on a Sunday, Easter is observed the following Sunday. The day taken to be the invariable date of the vernal equinox is March 21.

Herein lies the first difference in the determination of Easter between the Orthodox Church and the other Christian Churches. The Orthodox Church continues to base its calculations for the date of Easter on the Julian Calendar, which was in use at the time of the First Ecumenical Synod. As such, it does not take into consideration the number of days which have since then accrued due to the progressive inaccuracy of the Julian Calendar. Practically speaking, this means that Easter may not be celebrated before April 3 (Gregorian), which had been March 21–the date of the vernal equinox–at the time of the First Ecumenical Synod. In other words, a difference of 13 days exists between the accepted date for the vernal equinox then and now. In the West, this discrepancy was addressed in the 16th century through the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, which adjusted the Julian Calendar still in use by all Christians at that time. Western Christians, therefore, observe the date of the vernal equinox on March 21 according to the Gregorian Calendar.

April 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm
(42) Fr. Achilles says:

Orthodox Easter

The other difference in the determination of Easter between the Orthodox and other Christian Churches concerns the date of Passover. Jews originally celebrated Passover on the first full moon following the vernal equinox. Christians, therefore, celebrated Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the other tragic events, which gave rise to the dispersal of the Jews, Passover sometimes preceded the vernal equinox. This was occasioned by the dependence of the dispersed Jews upon local pagan calendars for the calculation of Passover. As a consequence, most Christians eventually ceased to regulate the observance of Easter by the Jewish Passover. Their purpose, of course, was to preserve the original practice of celebrating Easter following the vernal equinox.

As an alternative to calculating Easter by the Passover, “paschal (Easter) cycles” were devised. The Orthodox Church eventually adopted a 19-year cycle, the Western Church an 84-year cycle. The use of two different “paschal cycles” inevitably gave way to differences between the Eastern and Western Churches regarding the observance of Easter. Varying dates for the vernal equinox increased these differences. Consequently, it is the combination of these variables, which accounts for the different date of Orthodox Easter, whenever it varies from the rest of Christendom

January 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm
(43) Albert Alloro says:

I was brought up Catholic and I am now in a Non-Denominational Church. I believe that Easter should be in accordance with Passover.
The Last Supper is the significant because it symbolizes that there is
no longer any need to celebrate the Passing over the Angel of Death.
Since the resurrection of Jesus signifies that through our Belief that
we will have ever lasting life through our faith in Jesus. Therefore
we should follow the Jewish Passover and not the Catholic one!
According the Catholicism Easter is always celebrated the first
Sunday after the first Full Moon In Spring. That does not make any
sense to me. Passover and Easter should be about the same time.

February 13, 2014 at 5:42 am
(44) Bunny says:

This thread must make Jesus sad. It reminds me of the time in scripture where the apostles where fighting about who would be first in the kingdom.

April 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm
(45) Larry says:

Who cares. What a stupid thing to argue about.

I could never understand when I was a kid how Christmas was a fixed day but Easter kept bouncing around.

I could also not understand how he could be born in December and die three months. later as a grown man.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
Top Related Searches
  • reader question
  • passover
  • ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.