How to Determine Which Sunday Will Be Easter Sunday in a Given Calendar Year
By Bunny Scout 275

Easter Sunday is one of those Holidays that can be hard to plan for because most Humans never know exactly when it will be.

Bunnies, on the other hand, don’t have this problem. See, all Bunnies are directly related to the Easter Bunny and, therefore, all Bunnies are well aware of when Easter is. I’m not kidding! It’s true!

Don’t believe me? Try Me!

2020? Easy! April 12
2045? Ha! April 9
2099? April 12 again!
3015? April 2
1988? April 3
1847? April 4
1583? April 10
4047? March 24

Told you! Bunnies Know Easter!

 

Now, as I said, Humans have a bit more trouble with this. The calculation required in order for a Human to pinpoint the date of Easter Sunday is rather complicated and the process may seem convoluted, but all of my Bunny research leads to the conclusion that this is, in fact, how it is done:

Using the Gregorian Calendar, it goes like this:

c = y / 100
 n = y - 19 * ( y / 19 )
 k = ( c - 17 ) / 25
 i = c - c / 4 - ( c - k ) / 3 + 19 * n + 15
 i = i - 30 * ( i / 30 )
 i = i - ( i / 28 ) * ( 1 - ( i / 28 ) * ( 29 / ( i + 1 ) )
 * ( ( 21 - n ) / 11 ) )
 j = y + y / 4 + i + 2 - c + c / 4
 j = j - 7 * ( j / 7 )
 l = i - j
 m = 3 + ( l + 40 ) / 44
 d = l + 28 - 31 * ( m / 4 )

This algorithm uses the year, y, to determine the month, m, and day, d, of Easter. The symbol * means multiply.

Please note the following: This is an integer calculation. All variables are integers and all remainders from division are dropped. For example, 7 divided by 3 is equal to 2 in integer arithmetic.

Bet you didn’t see that coming!!! Bam! What? It’s call Bunny Math!!!

The US Navy has a webpage devoted to this that you can visit if you have any questions!

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/easter.php

They also have a convenient Easter Sunday calculator for the purposes you can find here:

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/easter.php

Now, some of you might have been expecting more of a verbal explanation for the coming of Easter Sunday and for those of the more language-arty variety, I provide the following summary:

Easter Sunday has been determined to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or the next after the vernal equinox which happens annually around March 20 or 21. Because of this, Easter Sunday can be anywhere between March 22 and April 25 as decreed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

Now, in case you don’t know, the vernal equinox happens when the sun is exactly above the equator. This occurrence results in the length of the day and the length of the night being exactly the same!

In the Northern Hemisphere the vernal equinox falls on or about March 20 or 21, just as the sun crosses the celestial equator on its path north. According to both the astronomical and the Bunny definition of the seasons, the vernal equinox officially marks the beginning of spring!

The U.S. Naval Observatory’s Astronomical Applications Department has a more extensive discussion regarding the ecclesiastical rules that determine the date of Easter Sunday which trace back to 325 CE at the First Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

This discussion covers the differences in the Julian and the Gregorian Calendar, church-established calculation tables, the differences between the astronomical full moon and the ecclesiastical full moon, as well as how all of this effects the Date of Easter Sunday. If you are curious and would like to know more about this, please visit:

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/easter.php

The author did, in fact, originally attempt to include the explanation of the timing of Easter in the second chapter of The Bunny in the Bush. However, as a Human, she found the passage rather tricky to rhyme and far too complicated to present in a logical sequence that did not distract from the progression of the story itself… so she left it out.

For those interested, that section went a little something like this:

This mythical mammal it was rumored would come
After the snows of the winter were at long last done.
And then as the creatures stirred deep in the hollow,
Always he came on the first Sunday to follow
The first full moon of the spring
That the calendar would bring
After the length of the day and the length of the night
Would manage to line themselves up just right
On that vernal day of March Twenty or Twenty-one.
When, alas, Spring had finally sprung!

Bunny Scout 275 graduated from Easter Island University with a degree in AstroBunny Physics. He is currently managing editor of The Easter Egg Press and is a scout for Olivia in Florida.
The Bunny in the Bush is a children’s book that combines the origins of the Easter Bunny with a fun new Easter tradition that teaches values and encourages independent and creative thinking as you prepare to celebrate the Easter season!

19 Comments

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