# Easter? A mathematical case!

It is rare that all three religions are found around the same celebration, the s ame date. In fact there is a reason, to see nature as mathematical reasoning of an astronomer. The date of Easter is determined according to the computation and it affects oth er religious and civil dates. This year it will be Sunday, April 8, 2007, next y ear, March 23 and April 12, 2009. Setting this date is astronomical, in the year 325 the Council of Nicaea decreed the following rule: Easter is celebrated on t he Sunday following the fourteenth day of the moon that age to 21 March or immed iately thereafter. In other words, the first Sunday after or coinciding with the first full moon after March 21 (marking the beginning of spring). Before this c ouncil, the party followed the rules vary, influenced by the date of Passover. I n this definition, the term "age of the moon" is not taken in its usual sense: t he age is counted in whole days from the date of the new moon. Moreover, it is t he moon computation (also known as Paschal moon) is used instead of the actual n ew moon. The date does not depend on astronomical tables, or direct observation of the crescent (a practice still used for the observation of certain Muslim hol idays). We also note that it is not the actual date of spring, but March 21, whi ch is used as the reference date (even if often falls on March 21, the spring in some years will one day or two lag with this date). By construction, Easter fal ls earlier than March 22. This occurs when the Paschal lunar month begins March 8 (new moon) and that March 22 is a Sunday (post-equinox coincides with that day of reckoning the full moon). Instead the latest possible date is April 25. Inde ed, in the Gregorian reckoning, a lunation (new moon) can begin March 7. The fou rteenth day (last full moon of winter) then falls on March 20 and the next full moon (the first full moon of spring) is April 18th (29 days). If April 18 is alr eady on a Sunday, Easter falls on the following Sunday (25th). It is the same as in the Julian reckoning, even if no new moon on March 7 as possible in this cal endar, a lunar month, commencing March 6, so Julian would last 30 days and not 2 9. Elements of computation. - Julian The computation uses two elements, the Sund ay letter and the number of gold astronomical. The computation uses the Gregoria n and the Sunday letter epact, but knowledge of the number of gold is also neces sary, contrary to what is generally said. For the solar cycle is an element whos e job is equivalent to that of the Sunday letter julienne. The value of these el ements is given each year in the almanac, so did they think it necessary to publ ish in the Knowledge of Time and directory of the Bureau des Longitudes. Because of this publication, the yearbook of the Bureau des Longitudes devoted to a com putation section periodic naturally concluded that the calculation of the date o f Easter. The text of this article was also very significantly the reproduction of the end of Book IV of the 3rd edition of the astronomy courses of H. Andoya 1 923. It was a tradition not justified: the elements of scientific computation ha ve no role, civil, or even religious. The actual calculation of these days is mo re complicated than that of the perpetual calendar published annually in the ast ronomical Ephemerides directory of the Bureau des Longitudes. The proof of these formulas requires only knowledge of elementary arithmetic. Example for 2006: • It must first compute L by Sunday letter Gregorian (we set L = 1 for the letter A is the case in 2006, for example, up to L = 7 for letter G). • Then we must ca lculate E, the Gregorian epact (E is zero for 2006): • To keep the same formula in April, the epact E is corrected as follows: if E = 24 and L = 4 (letter D), then take E = -5 • if E = 25 and L = 3 (letter C ), then take E = -4 • otherwise, if E is 24 or beyond , decrease E 30; • Add the numbers E and L and increment of 1 (0 + 1 + 1 = 2 for 2006). • Take the remaind er in the division by 7 (2 / 7 = 0, or 0 × 7 = 0 instead of 2, the rest is there fore 2). • Add 45 and subtract E (2 + 45-0 = 47). The result is the day of Easte r, starting from early March (1 = 1 March). In fact the smallest possible value obtained is 22 to March 22. If the result exceeds 31, is that Easter falls in Ap ril (just subtract 31 for the date).For 2006, Easter falls on Sunday, April 16 so (47-31 = 16). Algorithm Thomas O'Beirne The first algorithm attributed to Gau ss contained some errors. (In fact a mistake, it was based on limited data in ti

me. Its result is not guaranteed for all periods.) Is in any case an algorithm c reated by Thomas O'Beirne, who has deserves to be fair and include all the inter mediate calculations simply for the computation year. It clearly recognizes the parts of the previous calculation (number of gold, etc..) Even if the role of qu antities is not specified here. The algorithm is given in its simplified form as it is practical (the full version (en) is any less interesting as giving rise t o unnecessary or simplify calculations, for example, you might get epact directl y by dividing x by 19 ). For the current period (1900 - 2099) was so fast: Let M be the year of calculation (take 2005 for example): • We set n = M - 1900 (1900 to subtract the year, so n = 105 for our example) • It takes a, n in the rest o f the division by 19 (105/19 = 5, but 5 × 19 = 95 instead of 105, so there are 1 0 a = 10) • It calculates a × 7 + 1 (which gives for example 7 × 10 + 1 = 71) • It takes b, the result (integer) division by 19 (71/19 = 3 then b = 3); • is cal culated (11 × a) - b +4 (11 × 10-3 + 4 = 111) c • It takes the rest when divided by 29 (111/29 = 3 or 3 × 29 = 87 in instead of 111, so there are 111-87 = 24, t herefore c = 24) • Calculate the integer part of n / 4 (105 / 4 = 26) • Calculat e n - c + d + 31 (or 105-24 + 26 + 31 = 138) • It takes e else in the division b y 7 (138 / 7 = 19, or 19 × 7 = 133 instead of 138, so there are 138-133 = 5 so e = 5) • Calculate P = 25 - c - e (in this example: P = 25 to 24 - 5 = -4); • The date of Easter falls P days after March 31 (or earlier if P is negative). This means that: • for P = 1, 1 April, ie P positive corresponds directly to the day of April, for P = 0 • Easter Sunday is March 31, and • for P = -1 March 30, that P should be added to negative 31 for the day of the month of March (For 2005, w e find P = -4, which means that Easter is Sunday, 31/04 = 27 March). By repeatin g this calculation for the year 2006, we find P = 16 and we would find the previ ous result (Easter 2006 falls on April 16). Algorithm Oudin The advantage of thi s is to be among those seeking fewer operations. So one of the most interesting for the general computing (unlimited century). It is presented in its simplified form not therefore be used for any year after 1583 (after the onset of the Greg orian calendar). The calculation of the date of Easter is far from an easy thing . A simple example is the calculation in the current year (2008). Divisions must still be intact (it eliminates the decimal point). • G is the number of gold fe ll 1: Divide the year by 19, take the rest • (2008/19 = 105 105x19 = 1995 gold and we have 2008, so the gap is G = 13) • C C_4 permit monitoring of leap years: divide the year by 100 and then again by 4 (2008/100 = C = 20 and 20 / 4 = 5 = C_4) • • E: Divide (8 x C + 13) 25 without the decimal (8x20 +13 = 173/25 = E = 6) H depends on the epact: divide (19xG + C - C_4 - E + 15) by 30, take the rest (It takes the remainder of a division along the same principle as for G: (271) / 30 = 9 9x30 = 270 gold and we have (271), so the gap is H = 1) • • • • K: H divided by 28 (1 / 28 = K = -0) P: divide 29 by (H +1) (29 / 2 = P = 14) Q: divide (21-G) by 11

(21-13 = 8 / 11 = Q = 0) I represents the number of days between full moon and Easter March 21: (KxPxQ 1) x K + H (-0x14x0-1 =- 1 x-0 = 0 + 1 = I = 1) • • • B: divide the year by 4 and remove the decimal point, add the year (2008 / 4 = 502 +2008 = 2510) Day 1: Add B + I + 2 + C_4 and subtract C (J1 = 2498) J2 calculates the day of the Paschal moon (0 = Sunday 1 = Monday ... 6 = Saturda y): J1 divide by 7 and take the rest. (It always calculates the remainder of a division on the same principle with G a nd H, the result is J2 = 6) • A final result, finally: 28 + I - J2 (R = 23) R represents the date of March, if it exceeds 31 extending into April (30 matche s ... at March 30, March 31 to 31, 32 1 April 33 to April 2, ...). Subtract 31 i f necessary to get the date of April. (Easter 2008 falls on March 23 then.) East er and Passover is often said that the date of Easter Catholic and Protestant (w hich are identical) and the date of Orthodox Easter would be delayed so as not t o coincide with Passover. It is completely untrue, however. It is just a differe nce in dates had sometimes occurred during the first centuries. Indeed, the coin cidence of the two parties was for the pagan philosophers a subject of derision against the two religions that claimed to oppose and seemed to follow the same l iturgy. The events celebrated are different: Exodus, narrated by the Old Testame nt and the Resurrection of Christ, as reported by the New, which the place durin g the week of Passover. At the Council of Nicaea, a controversy arose: "Some arg ued that it should follow the custom of the Jews, while others claimed he was lo oking at exactly the time and do not agree with people so far removed from throu gh the Scriptures "(Eusebius, Life of Constantine, III, 5). A third approach pre vailed: eliminate any risk of overlapping with other holidays, hence the rule of Nicaea. The Passover is indeed set in the fourteenth day of the moon of Nisan, which falls during the spring equinox. This month does not necessarily coincide with the Moon fictitious Christian reckoning. So that the desired effect is not always achieved. Let us add that the rule of Nicaea is not part of the dogma and that is only an ecumenical council to modify when the interest will be adequate ly felt, that any changes had been explicitly provided in acts of the Council of 325 and finally that the rule itself has not been enacted at the time by the Po pe, but by the Emperor Constantine, who was also named to his deathbed, 10 years later. In fact, a statement of Vatican II states that the Church would not oppo se the principle of a fixed date for Easter.