As warmer weather finally arrives in the UK with the onset of spring, many of us are looking forward to the Easter holidays in 2022.
The Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion in Jerusalem is one which has been observed for centuries, with traditions gradually changing across the decades.
In the 21st century, Christians across the world celebrate Easter by trading chocolate Easter eggs, attending mass on Easter Sunday and indulging in temptations given up during lent.
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Here’s when Easter and the easter weekend will fall this year - and why Easter and Good Friday are slightly later in 2022.
When did Lent start in 2022?
Lent for the year 2022 began on Wednesday March 2 and will end on Thursday April 14 with evening mass on Holy Thursday.
The 40 day observed festival sees many Christians across the world decide to give something up for the duration of lent to pay tribute to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice in the days leading up to his death and resurrection.
Traditionally, Christians would fast or observe abstinence throughout the 40 days of lent, repenting and reflecting on their sins, as well as resisting temptation – as Jesus did during his 40 days of fasting and prayer during the desert before dying on the cross, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Lent begins on the day known as Ash Wednesday, which is still commonly observed in the Western world with priests marking the foreheads of mass attendees with ash in the shape of a cross as they recite the dictum: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
These ashes are derived by burning palm leaves used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday rites.
Its final week, known as Holy Week, begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy or Maundy Thursday, followed by Good Friday.
The end of lent on Holy Thursday is followed by Good Friday – in which Christians often exchange hot cross buns to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans following his sentencing by Pontius Pilate.
When is Easter 2022?
Easter Sunday will fall on Sunday April 17 in 2022.
The Sunday holiday dedicated to Easter celebrations can take place any time between March 22 and April 25 in accordance with lunar patterns and the ecclesiastical calendar.
Easter can be celebrated between 22 March and 25 April due to a set of calculations based on observations of the moon using the Church’s ecclesiastical calendar.
A Christian holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon - Paschal - that occurs on or after the spring equinox.
The spring equinox is when day and night are the same length and occurs each year and is set on 21 March in the ecclesiastical calendar, even if this differs from the astronomical date.
In 2021, the first full moon after the spring equinox is scheduled for Sunday 28 March, meaning Easter will be celebrated the following Sunday on 4 April.
Why is Easter so late in 2022?
With Easter Sunday falling on Sunday April 4 in 2021, this year’s Easter Sunday on April 17 is taking place later than usual.
This is due to the fact that it falls on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon (known as the ‘Paschal’) after the spring equinox.
This year’s Easter Sunday is the latest it has fallen in the Western Gregorian calendar for three years, having fallen on April 21 in 2019.
In 1943, however, Easter Sunday did not arrive until on Sunday April 25 – as the last ecclesiastical full moon preceding the Paschal did not take place until Saturday March 20.
Only in 2038, in 16 years’ time and 95 years since 1943’s Easter, will we see Easter Sunday fall this late again.
But Easter dates can also differ depending on whether it is being worshipped according to the Gregorian calendar or the Julian calendar – used by Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The 13 day gap between these two calendars means that dates can vastly differ, with the Eastern (Julian) Easter Sunday taking place on Sunday April 24 in 2022.
When is the Easter bank holiday in 2022?
To follow the Easter Sunday, many Brits will be able to enjoy a day off on the Easter bank holiday, which falls on the Monday after Easter Sunday.
This means that in 2022, the Easter bank holiday will fall on Monday April 18.
For some areas in Scotland, such as Edinburgh, children will likely already be on holiday during this period.
But for pupils in England, many of whom are due to return to school on April 18, will get an additional day off for Easter Monday’s bank holiday.
Conversely, Good Friday, held as part of the extended Easter weekend, is only observed as a bank holiday in Scotland.