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What's behind Easter's changing date

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Albany/HV: What's behind Easter's changing date
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Last year at this time, those who celebrate Easter had already put away their Sunday best and gobbled up the last of their Easter candy. This year, the Christian holiday falls a full three weeks later.

Father John Bucki, a Jesuit priest and director of campus ministry for LeMoyne College, says the annual change of date is something he doesn't normally field questions on.

"There are two types of feasts. There are what are called fixed feasts and there are moveable feasts, and Easter is a moveable feast," Father Bucki said.

Father Bucki says Easter celebrates Jesus' resurrection after crucifixion, something Christians believe happened during Passover. The faith's early followers wanted to keep to tradition when marking it.

"There were two impulses: one was to keep it associated with Passover, and Passover can be on any day of the week," said Father Bucki.

But there was also the desire to mark Easter on a Sunday, since that's the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead, as well as the traditional day of worship. To determine exactly which Sunday, it was decided to look to the heavens.

"At a certain point, the Christian churches decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring," Father Bucki said.

It's also not unusual for Christians to mark the holiday twice in a year, since Eastern Orthodox churches follow a different calendar than Western churches. However, this year, both will celebrate Easter on April 20.

But Father Bucki says when it comes down to it, it's not when the holiday is celebrated that matters, but why.

"They killed him, and yet he was able to rise from the dead -- there's something stronger than all that going on. And that's what we want to celebrate, and that's very central to our religious faith," he said.

It's a message many will reflect on this weekend.

While Easter falls on April 20 this year, the range of dates it can be celebrated goes from March 22 to April 25. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP