New Mental Gym Tutorial: Easter Dates

Published on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in , , , , , , ,

DafneCholet's Calendar* photoPeople are often confused as to why the dates of Easter moves around so much from year to year. It moves so much much because Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring.

If this sounds confusing on its own, consider that the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches use different calendars, which can yield different dates as a result!

Thanks to the work of John Conway, though, it is possible to work out the date of both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Easters in your head!

Some basic understanding and practice are all that's really needed to be able to calculate the Easter date in your head for any year from 1900 to 2099. In order to help make everything clearer, I've posted my new Easter Date For A Given Year tutorial over in the Mental Gym. To make it easier to learn, the tutorial is broken up into several steps:

The introduction explains the rules for Easter calculation in detail, as well as what you need to know to get started.

• The next section explains how to calculate the date of the traditional Roman Catholic Easter. After learning how to work out the date of the Paschal full moon (the first full moon after the first day of spring in a given year), you then learn how to work out the date of Easter for that same year.

• If you want to impress others by performing this feat, there's an entire section of presentation tips that can help make this feat entertaining.

• The method for calculating the date of Orthodox Easter is covered another section, as well. Assuming you can work out Roman Catholic Easter, there are surprisingly few changes involved in working out the Orthodox Easter date.

• Finally, there's another section for those adventuresome souls who want to venture on and work out Easter dates in other centuries. Here you can find out what changes need to be made to the original calculations.

Since practice is important, I've also developed a set of interactive Easter date quizzes. Since you work through each section verbally in a step-by-step manner, the quizzes work the same way. In the first quiz, you simply work out the paschal full moon date for Roman Catholic Easter. In the next quiz, you're asked about the paschal full moon and Easter dates. The Orthodox quizzes are similar, and start with the Roman Catholic dates first, since you need that information as a starting point.

If you put in a little understanding, a little practice, and a little time, you may surprise yourself (and others) with an impressive new skill!

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