Day and date

Apr 16, 2017 By Steven R. Peck

No holiday varies on the calendar more than Easter

Many holidays have a set spot on the calendar: Dec. 25. July 4. Feb 14.

Others that don't have a firm date adhere to a limited date range. Third Monday in February. Last Monday in May. First Monday in September. Fourth Thursday in November. One week after Christmas. These can't vary by more than a week on the calendar. Labor Day can be as early as Sept. 1 or as late as Sept. 8, but that's it.

There there's Easter.

It doesn't have a specific calendar day each year. It doesn't even have a specific month.

Easter is always on a Sunday. Beyond that, it relies on the moon and the change of season, and, apparently, something called the Golden Number.

Most of us just look on the new calendar and see "Easter" printed on a Sunday in the spring. But there is a formula to it. Officially, East falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

That is tied in some way to the "Golden Number," a figure based on the 19-year cycle of the Moon. (The moon repeats the dates of its phases approximately every 19 years.) Take the year, add one, divide by 19, and you have the current Golden Number. Exactly what you do then must be known only to the mysterious, cloaked officials in the basement of the Vatican.

Easter can be as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. No other American holiday has such a wide calendar range.

What Easter has every year, however, is a mighty message of renewal, promise, hope and triumph. Its coincidence with the arrival of spring, the happiness of children, the traditions of faith and family, the banishment of winter, the promise of the season, of music, good food and fellowship are enduring life anchors.

Whenever it arrives, Easter is intended as a time of joy. That's something we all can celebrate, no matter the date.

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