Easter Sunday falls on March 23 this year - just about as early as it can be. The dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why the date moves about on the Roman calendar we now use.
We have a full moon tonight (Friday), and Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (March 20). March 22 is the earliest date it can be, and that is extremely rare. This year's Easter is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see. Only those people who are at least 95 years old in 2008 have ever seen Easter fall as early as it does this year.
The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be in the year 2228 - 220 years from now. The last time it was this early was in 1913.
The next time Easter will fall on March 22 is in 2285 - 277 years from now. The last time it was on March 22 was in 1818.
Bottom line - very few people who are alive today has seen, or ever will see - Easter fall any earlier than this year.
One of the few exceptions, though, is a lovely lady who lives right here in Cherokee. Catherine "Kat" Hanlon will not only be seeing her second March 23 Easter Sunday, she'll also be celebrating her birthday that day as well. March 23, 1913 was Catherine's 8th birthday, and on March 23, 2008, she will celebrate her 103rd. One of the seven children of John and Mary Hanlon, most of Kat's siblings also lived to at least 90 years of age. "It's the genes," she said.
Kat grew up in Cherokee, graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Sociology and Education, and taught in several small towns in Iowa before heading to California, where she also taught school for 14-15 years.
She returned to Cherokee to be with her Dad after her mother passed away, and worked as a lab assistant for Optometrist Dr. Fritz here in Cherokee until she retired at age 66.
Catherine remembers people telling her on her 8th birthday that having Easter fall on her birthday "would never happen again in (her) lifetime. She said she hopes to prove them wrong on Sunday.