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Thread: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

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    As-salaamu alaykum Array Esther462's Avatar
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    Question Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    I am a Muslim but was Christian and I've been thinking why does Easter change date every year and Chrismas stays the same date every year?

    I was told many years ago that Easter was on the luner calander, so thats why it changes, so is this true?

    If the above question is true, why are Christians working on 2 calanders? That just doesn't make sence to me.

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    IB Oldskool Array Keltoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    The Christians of the 2nd Century, the date most accepted by religious historians as the beginnings of Easter celebration by Christians, used different calenders depending on their geography. The Julian Calender was the most widely used up until the 16th century, but the Julian Calender was off by 11 minutes and 14 seconds every year. Pope Gregory XIII commissioned a study to find a way to correct it and stop it from drifting into the future. This lead to leap years. The new calender was called the Gregorian calender. However, the Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calender...so different Christian groups celebrate Easter on different days.


    "Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."

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    El Habanero picante Array Woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    Quote Originally Posted by Esther462 View Post
    I am a Muslim but was Christian and I've been thinking why does Easter change date every year and Chrismas stays the same date every year?

    I was told many years ago that Easter was on the luner calander, so thats why it changes, so is this true?

    If the above question is true, why are Christians working on 2 calanders? That just doesn't make sence to me.


    Calenders are the most confusing, least understood thing imaginable. People forget that a calender is simply a tool used to produce a reference point to co-ordinate activities. Although the Gregorian calender is the most commonly used calender for business and commerce, it usually does not correlate with the worlds various religious and local calenders. Although the Gregorian Calender was established by Pope Gregory, it is the most successful secular calender and designed for the smooth transaction of business, not religious celebrations.

    Dates are fixed in specific religious calender, however because they do not match with the Gregorian calender they fluctuate yearly.

    What is unusual with most Christian denominations is they seem to use the Gregorian calender for all of the church Holy days with the exception of Easter, in which they use the church calender.





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    Account Disabled Array Joe98's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    The Jews celebrate Passover at a date based on the moon.

    Christ’s last supper was a Passover meal.

    Therefore the date of Easter is based on the date of Passover which itself is based on the moon.

    Christmas is just a date like any birthday.

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    Account Disabled Array NoName55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe98 View Post
    The Jews celebrate Passover at a date based on the moon.

    Christ’s last supper was a Passover meal.

    Therefore the date of Easter is based on the date of Passover which itself is based on the moon.

    Christmas is just a date like any birthday.
    agreed! exactly so.

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    Full Member Array chosen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    i remeber growing up..The Ten Commandments (one of the best movies ever made)..always being on arounf easter...I would tell my Jewish friends it was my favorite easter movie..and they would always gently remind me it was a passover movie..

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    IB Oldskool Array Grace Seeker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why does Easter change date and Chrismas stays the same date?

    Take the three posts by Keltoi, Woodrow and Joe and add this one to it, and I think you'll have more information than you can use to answer your questions.


    The New Testament church did not actually celebrate Christ's birth as a holy day, just his resurrection. But in later centuries the church decided that they wanted to celebrate the date of his birth as well. They had no idea what that date actually was. Many theories were advanced from sometime in the spring lambing season to, because of a possible celestial event in the estimated year, sometime in October (I was born that month being the reason I prefer it) and, yes, a few even argued for sometime in December. But as no one really knew, and no particularly compelling date could be chosen for any one date over another, the powers that be in the church at the time ultimately had to just make an arbitrary choice of some date, it could have been any date, and they choose December 25. As I am sure you would have heard from those who like to ridicule Christmas, the reason for choosing it was because there happened to be a pagan celebration of the winter solstice around that same time. In the mind of the leaders of the church in that day, the best way to encourage the people to give up their pagan celebration was to given them a Christian one to substitute in its place, so rather than celebrating the "rebirth" of the sun, they were instead encouraged to celebrate the birth of the Son of God. Once that date was set on the calendar, it as was explained above, became celebrated on a given date like any other birthday celebration.

    Oh, and by the way, even this December 25 date isn't universal. Not all of the church chose to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25. Some parts of the church, for reasons I cannot detail, opted instead to celebrate Jesus' birth on January 6. In the majority of the church, January 6 is recognized the day that the Maji arrived to visit the infant (or maybe better understood as 2-year-old toddler) Jesus and is called Epiphany. Both dates have been used for centuries with Christians aware of them and generally not arguing about which is right, because it is understood that no one really knows. We just want to celebrate and one day is as good as another. The result for many centuries (until, in commercializing Christmas, people started thinking of Christmas as a season started following Mr. Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and ended with tearing packing up the tree the day after Christmas) was a 12 day celebration from December 25 to January 6 called the 12 days of Christmas -- and, if you ever sang that song, now you know the rest of the story.



    Easter, again as noted in posts above, is tied to the Jewish celebration of passover. Because the Jewish calendar is not linked to either the Gregorian or Julian calendars (both intended to be purely solar calendars), but is a variation of a lunar calendar within a solar year the date moves on the Gregorian solar calendar. Perhaps this can best be explained with a little story.

    Passover, or Pesach as most Jews would refer to it, is the most well known of all the Jewish holidays. Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, but as you are well aware, that date moves on the Gregorian calendar that is used in everyday 21st century life. As the most commonly known of all Jewish holidays, it is even honored by non-observant Jews. So, confused by this "moving" of the date of Pesach, a man visits his local rabbi.
    Rabbi: Samuel, how go it is to see you today. We've been missing you.
    Samuel: Thank-you, Rabbi. I have been lax in my duties to Torah. But I wish to make amend.
    Rabbi: Very good, Samuel. Then we shall see you at Pesach.
    Samuel: Most certainly, Rabbi. Only, Rabbi, I must ask for one thing.
    Rabbi: Of course, Samuel, what is it?
    Samuel: When is Pesach this year?
    Rabbi: The same as it is every year, Samuel; the 15th of Nissan.

    This same conversation could happen with respect to Easter. The date appears to move, but in reality it is fixed. It is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the March equinox. If you want more detailed information on how that is determined and the all the little quirks of history involved you can read a rather detailed telling of that here.
    Last edited by Grace Seeker; 11-30-2007 at 12:13 AM.

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