Why Is Easter So Late This Year? Blame the ‘Moveable Feast’

Easter 2019 is this Sunday, April 21. If that seems a lot later to you than we usually celebrate Easter — you’re right! The holiday fell on March 31 in 2018, three full weeks earlier than it does this year.

Why is Easter so late this year, happening a whole month after the beginning of spring? It’s because of a rule that was established almost 1700 years ago in Turkey. The rule* is that Easter is the Sunday after the first full moon that follows the March equinox. Following this rule for establishing the date for observing Easter, the holiday can happen as early as March 22, or as late as April 25.

The moveable feast. Because of its shifting dates, Easter is called “the great moveable feast.” A moveable feast, by the way, is a feast day that happens every year on the same day of the week (sort of like American Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday in November), but has a date that varies from year to year.