Date of Easter
The year in which Jesus died is uncertain.
All accounts agree that it was at or near the time of Passover.
There is no universal date for the celebration of Easter among all Christians.
"The canonical rule is that Easter day is the first Sunday after the 14th day of the lunar month (the nominal full moon) that falls on or after 21 March (nominally the day of the vernal equinox). For determining the feast, Christian churches settled on a method to define a reckoned 'ecclesiastical' full moon, rather than observations of the true Moon. Eastern Orthodox Christians calculate the fixed date of 21 March according to the Julian Calendar rather than the modern Gregorian Calendar, and use an ecclesiastical full moon that occurs four to five days later than the western ecclesiastical full moon."
- The earliest possible date for Easter is March 22.
- The latest possible date for Easter is April 25.
- From Easter to Pentecost: a week of weeks (7 x 7 = 49, plus 1 = 50)
|Good Shepherd Sunday
- Be mindful of Jesus' resurrection.
- Light some Easter candles.
- Pray for the outpouring of the spirit on Pentecost.
For Eastern Christians, Easter Sunday is called "the Great Sunday," and the seven days that follow are "Bright Week" or "Renewal Week." Divine Mercy Sunday, for them, is "New Sunday" or "Thomas Sunday." From a seventh-century eastern council:
- "From the holy day of the Resurrection of Christ our God until New Sunday (i.e. Thomas Sunday) for a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of the Divine Scriptures and delighting in the Holy Mysteries. For in this way shall we be exalted with Christ; raised up together with Him. For this reason on the aforesaid days that by no means there be any horse races or any other public spectacle."
During all of Bright Week the Holy Doors on the Iconostasis are kept open — the only time of the year when this occurs. The open doors represent the stone rolled away from the Tomb of Christ, and the Epitaphios (Slavonic: Plashchanitza), representing the burial cloths, is visible through them on the Holy Table (altar). The doors of the Iconostasis are closed before the Ninth Hour on the eve of Thomas Sunday.
The East treats the week like seven Easter Sundays. In the West, we count eight days as Easter Week, including Divine Mercy Sunday in our liturgy.
A Season of Mercy
The Second Sunday of Easter has been named "Divine Mercy Sunday." In the light of this feast, we can see that God's action in raising Jesus from the dead is an act of mercy for the whole world.
A Season of Mystagogia
Mystagogia means "instruction in the mysteries of the faith." After Baptism, the new Christians are schooled in the creed of the Church.
Good Shepherd Sunday
The fourth Sunday of Easter is "Good Shepherd Sunday," when John 10 is used for the gospel.
It is a traditional day to pray for vocations.
The Gospel of the Holy Spirit
The Acts of the Apostles is read sequentially on the weekdays of the Easter Season — cover to cover. Peter Kreeft calls Acts "the gospel of the Holy Spirit."