According to timeanddate.com, "The date of Easter Day is usually the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the March equinox."
But which Sunday that is depends on the calendar you’re using: Gregorian or Julian. Easter in the Western tradition (think North and South America, Europe) goes by the Gregorian calendar, while Eastern Orthodox Christians (think Greece, Russia) use the Julian calendar to reckon the date.
This year, though, the timing coincides, and Easter is on April 16 for both traditions.
The debate over a consistent, unified date is still going strong, but one thing every person of faith who commemorates Easter agrees on is this: The day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead three days after his crucifixion at Golgotha, just outside Jerusalem.
The theme for Easter at First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe this year is "As he lives, I live."
"Easter is not a day," says First Baptist pastor, Jason Thomas. "Easter is a lifestyle. The same power that raised Jesus from the tomb lives in us."
"Easter is the first celebration the church participated in after the death of the Lord," says Father Bill Williams of Saint Gerard Catholic Church in Fort Oglethorpe. "The power of Christ’s saving grace for all his people lives in the resurrection."
"In I Corinthians 15:14," says Thomas, "the apostle Paul writes, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’ I believe that with anything in life, it’s important to build on a solid foundation. For Christians, that foundation is Christ himself. The resurrection – the living Christ – is the essence and foundation of our faith."
Within the Catholic Church, says Williams, Easter Day is the beginning of a special Easter season that culminates with a celebration of Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and followers of Jesus. "Jesus promised his followers peace over and over. That peace can be found in the triumph of Christ over sin and death in the resurrection."
Both First Baptist Church (fbcfo.org) and Saint Gerard Catholic Church (saintgerardmajella.net) will be holding special services for Easter.