FOX47 NEWS - Moon Causes Early Easter

Jeff Angileri
Mar 23, 2008, 9:18 PM

At Saint Patrick's church in downtown Madison- followers remembered Easter being a bit warmer in prior years,

And they aren't imagining things.. in fact easter was celebrated in April last year.

The reason it's earlier this year is because of the moon.

Easter is the first sunday after the first full moon.. after the vernal equinox, says Madison Diocese Bishop Robert Morlino.

Which basically means the first full moon after the first day of Spring.

The complex calendar was created back in 325 A.D. And only slightly changed in 1582 to incorporate the leap year.

And according to that calendar- this is the earliest Easter in nearly a century .

We were tempted to sing I am dreaming of a white easter, Morlino says.

This years early easter conflicted with another holiday- St. Patrick's day.

Because the celebration of the patron saint was during holy week - the church had to adjust.

St. Pat and St. Joseph would be the first to admit- they wouldn't want their day to conflict with the celebration of the very central mystery of our faith, says Morlino.

There are a number of formulas used to determine the dates in which easter falls year after year.

And trying to understand them can be complicated.

Which is just fine with the catholic church

It's good that the celebration is variable because it points to the mystery of the meaning of easter and how it affected time, Morlino says.

At least easter will be later next year- but whether or not it will be warm - is as much of a mystery.

If you weren't too thrilled with Easter happening so early this year- you can breath a sigh of relief.

The next time the holiday will fall on the 23rd of march won't happen again until 2160.

By the way the latest day easter can happen is on April 25th, which will occur in 2038

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