Easter especially early


OK, you've exchanged the last Christmas gift and swept up the remaining pine needles. Just in time, since Lent starts two weeks from today.

Wait! What? Yes, Lent begins for Eastern Rite Catholics on Monday, February 4; and Ash Wednesday for the Roman Rite is February 6. Easter of 2008 falls on March 23; the 2nd earliest date that Easter can be. There will not be another Easter on this date until 2160.

Since you want to know the whole story: Easter is always set on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. The earliest date Easter can therefore be is March 22. For that to happen, March 21st, the first day of spring, has to be a Saturday with a full moon that night. The last time that happened was in 1818 and it will not happen again until 2285.

Maybe we'll have a snowstorm this Easter? That hasn't happened in New Jersey since March 29, 1970!