Ash Wednesday, the first day of the penitential season of Lent in the Catholic Church, is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a “movable” feast that is assigned a date in the calendar only after the date of Easter Sunday is calculated. How is it calculated? I’m glad you asked.
According to the norms established by the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) and later adopted for Western Christianity at the Synod of Whitby, Easter Sunday falls each year on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This year the vernal equinox falls on March 20, 2023 and the first full moon after that occurs on Thursday, April 6th. Therefore, Easter Sunday is celebrated this year on April 9th. If you want to know the date of Ash Wednesday, just count backwards 46 days and you get February 22nd. Continue reading