Easter and the Full Moon

image of the full moon

Ask anyone what they know about the full moon, which takes place every 28 days, and they may mention the effect the moon has on the tides or the infamous werewolf who howls at the moon. What some people don’t realise is that the date Easter falls in the calendar is determined by the cycle of the moon and specificially the full moon.

Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. This year, 2011, the spring equinox fell on March 20th, the day after a full moon on March 19th. The next full moon occurred earlier this week on April 18th, hence Easter Sunday today, April 24th. This is why Easter’s later than usual this year as there was a full moon only the day before the spring equinox.

Both the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are ancient symbols of fertility and Easter is a celebration of the return of the light of spring after the dark of winter and the continual cycle of birth and new life.  It’s also a great excuse for chocaholics to indulge in their favourite treat.  Happy Easter!

[photo courtesy of astrodynamics.net]

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