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Why Pentecost or Corpus day are not always celebrated the same day of the year?

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There are a lot of festivities while the year, and usually all of them are the same day each year (which makes it easier to be remembered) but there are some of them that change every year. Why?

One of them is Carnival, but not only, even Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ascension and Corpus day are celebrated different days every year.

To understand why, we have to know that all these festivities are Catholic.
Maybe you like or not the Catholic religion or maybe you don’t like any kind of religion, but I have learnt that to know why things are done in some way, we have to understand the local traditions and the religion is maybe the most important one. So, when we travel, it’s important we learn basic thinks of the local religion, whatever is the religion that they follow or have followed. In my country we have a deeply Catholic tradition, but it’s the same when we travel to a country where they follow Buddhist; Muslim; Jewish or other kind of religion.

So we were saying that Carnival, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ascension and Corpus day are related. All of them turn around Holy Sunday, when Christians remember the Resurrection of Jesus. I would say, this and Nativity are the most important days for a Catholic.
Well, to choose which of the 52 / 53 Sundays of the year will be Holy Sunday, it’s always the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. As you know spring starts on March 20th or 21st and is the season where everything revive.
Once we know which one is Holly Sunday, it’s easy. As we said the rest of the dates turn around Holly Sunday. So:

  • Easter is the week before that Sunday.
  • Lent is the 40 days before Easter, which is the time that Christians remember that Jesus spent 40 days in the dessert before to arrive to Jerusalem.
  • And before the 40 days of Lent we have Carnival, which is the week of excess, when everything is allowed (to eat, parties…) considering that after it there are 40 days of sacrifice. The week of Carnival starts on Thursday and finishes on Wednesday.
  • Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Holy Sunday
  • finally Corpus day is 10 days after Pentecost, so 60 days after Holy Sunday.

So, next time, when you complain about the dates of Easter to prepare your trip, blame to the moon!