Easter is a magical time of year: spring has arrived, bouncy lambs are jumping around in the fields, and the Easter bunny leaves us lots of shiny, yummy chocolate eggs on Easter morning! 
Yet Whitby’s connection with Easter goes way back through the ‘sea frets’ of time. 
In fact, the link can be traced back to the year 664, some four hundred years before the Norman Conquest of 1066. 
Back in 664, the site of the awe-inspiring Abbey ruins, and one of Whitby’s most famous landmarks, was selected as the meeting place for eminent Celtic and Roman Christian Clerics, who were at loggerheads as to how and when Easter should be observed. 
King Osiwu, who was presiding over the proceedings, heard both sides of the argument and the decision was made to follow the Roman version of Easter, rather than the Celtic tradition. 
This decision is widely regarded one of the most important ones in the history of Christianity. 
The monastery where this momentous decision was made was founded just a few years before, in around 657. 
However, remains of this original building have gradually been replaced over the centuries, and the jagged ruins we see today (which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula) date from the 13th Century onwards. The dramatic arches and pillars of the Gothic-inspired Abbey took around two hundred years to construct. 

So … Why Does Easter Change It’s Date Each Year? 

In one way, it would be nice to have Easter on a set date, a bit like Christmas. 
Although we think it’s ‘egg’-citing to see whether we’ll have an early, mid or late Easter weekend! 
But why do the Easter dates alter each year? 
So, going back to the decision made in 664, one of the key aspects was how the Easter dates were calculated. 
And you do need to be a bit of a mathematician to understand it! 
The date of Easter Day, or Easter Sunday, usually takes place on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon that occurs on or after the Spring Equinox (normally around the 21st March). 
Easter Day will always fall on a Sunday between 22nd March and 25th April, so this year’s dates of Good Friday on 14th April and Easter Day on 16th April, are a relatively late Easter (last year, Easter was celebrated at the end of March). 

Still Curious About Whitby And Easter? 

Well, given our town’s important connection with Easter, it’s only right that you visit Whitby Abbey, cared for by English Heritage. 
The Abbey is open from 10am to 6pm during the Easter weekend. You can’t fail to be inspired by this incredible building! 
Tagged as: Easter
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 

Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings