Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Date of Easter and Yorkshire

 Yorkshire has a claim as to why the date of Easter changes every year. It was decided at Whitby in the year 664.

The Christian feast of Easter commemorates the suffering of Christ and the death on the cross (Good Friday) and his resurrection three days later (Easter Sunday).

The Gospels tell us this happened during the Jewish festival of the Passover, the date of which is determined by the lunar calendar, or the monthly cycle of the Moon.

The early Christian church adopted this lunar calculations for the date of Easter. In the 4th century, it was agreed that Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday must be celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.

This seems simple enough. However there was disagreement about just when the date of the Spring Equinox was, the days of the lunar month on which it was permissible for Easter Sunday to fall and even the hour of the day when Easter Sunday began.

In Yorkshire, in 664 King Oswiu of Northumbria decided to settle the matter once and for all. He called a meeting of leading churchmen and nobles at the monastery he had founded at Whitby. This event became known as the Synod of Whitby.

Following the meeting it was decided that the teachings of Rome should be followed as to how to calculate the date of Easter.

This means that Easter Sunday is the first Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox. As the period of time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth is roughly 29 days or one month, which is in fact a modern word and comes from the old word ‘moonth’.

Therefore the date of Easter Day or Easter Sunday can be as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th


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