April is starting off with a bang: the first day of the month, Apr. 1, marks both Easter and April Fools' Day. These are two holidays that don't really seem to fit together that well, but hey, here we are. While you're eating your Easter ham or attending church services or maybe just hanging out with your family, you might also be tempted to play the ultimate practical joke on someone... which doesn't really seem very Easter-like. And how are you supposed to enjoy all that candy when you're waiting for someone to trick you?! Honestly, it's kind of stressful, which might make you wonder how often Easter is on April Fools' Day.
Holidays falling on the same day as one another also seems to be a bit of a pattern this year. Back in February 2018, Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine's Day, for instance. As it certainly seems odd to have Easter occur on April Fool's Day, and it kind of makes you wonder how the date for Easter is decided. As you probably already know, Easter falls on a different date each year — sometimes it's in late spring, while other times, like this year, it's pretty early in the season. So what determines the date each year?
According to Country Living, Easter typically falls on a Sunday between Mar. 22 and Apr. 25. As it turns out, it's supposed to coincide with the Spring Equinox, which is the first day of spring. The Spring Equinox is also the day when the sun shines directly on the equator, meaning that we experience almost equal hours of sunlight and nighttime. This year, the Spring Equinox falls on Mar. 20.
What does the Spring Equinox have to do with Easter? As you may know, according to Christianity, the holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ's death and resurrection happened after the Jewish Passover, which is celebrated on the first full moon after the Equinox. Early Christians wanted Easter to take place after Passover, and so that's something that is still taken into consideration. The dates always change because the holidays revolve around the solar and lunar cycle — and the galaxy pretty much does whatever it wants. This year, the Equinox is Mar. 20, Passover begins Mar. 30, the full moon is Mar. 31, and Easter is Apr. 1. Whew! That's a lot going on in one weekend.
April Fools' Day, however, stays the same every single year — it is always on Apr. 1. So, it seems that whoever decided the date of Easter had no choice but to keep the holidays together this year. Easter may be a huge holiday with deep roots, but April Fool's Day has been around for centuries as well. While we don't know the exact reason the holiday began, some say it started after a calendar shift in France in the 1500s that changed New Year's Day from the end of March to Jan. 1, as a joke to trick those who continued to use the old calendar.
So what are the chances of these two very different holidays being celebrated at once? This is the first time Easter has fallen on April Fool's Day since 1956. Since 1900, it has only happened four times; in 1923, 1934, 1945, and 1956. The next time this is set to occur is 2029. So, enjoy those Easter-themed tricks while you can! We suggest filling plastic eggs with the gross candy flavors, or maybe just leaving them empty completely. Just, uh, keep the jokes at home — if you celebrate Easter, you probably don't want to prank someone at church on the holiest day of the year.