Anomalous Easter Sunday Dates in Sweden and Finland

Even more complex as in Germany was the observance of Easter in Sweden (that until 1809 also included present-day Finland) from 1700 to 1844. Initially, the plan was to slowly migrate the calendar from the Julian style to the Gregorian style by leaving out each leap day correction from 1700 until 1740 while retaining the Dionysian Easter reckoning until 1740 after which the “improved” (astronomical) Easter reckoning would be observed.

Although the leap day of 1700 was correctly omitted, the subsequent leap days for 1704 and 1708 were inserted by mistake by the Swedish almanac makers, thus bringing the Swedish calendar one day out of step with the Julian calendar and 10 days out of step with the Gregorian calendar. In order to end this calendar confusion, it was decided in 1712 to revert back to the original Julian calendar by adding an extra leap day (February 30), thus creating a unique month that had never happened before and has not occurred since.

Swedish calendar page for February 1712

From 1712 to 1739 both the Julian calendar as the Dionysian Easter reckoning were observed in Sweden but in 1740 (as had been planned long before) the “improved” Easter reckoning was introduced though the Julian calendar was still retained. This caused the Swedish dates of Easter Sunday in 1742, 1744 and 1750 to wander outside of the traditional Easter limits (March 22 to April 25).

In 1753, one year after Great Britain and the British colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar and Easter reckoning, Sweden also adopted the Gregorian calendar but retained the “improved” Easter reckoning, even after it had been abandoned in 1776 by the protestant states of Germany. Thus Easter was observed a week later in Sweden than elsewhere in most of Europe on the astronomically calculated dates in 1802, 1805 and 1818. However, at the next two occurrences (in 1825 and 1829) Sweden appears to have followed the Gregorian reckoning but it was not until 1844, a year before the next anomalous Easter Sunday would occur, when Sweden formally adopted the Gregorian Easter reckoning, thus finally bringing its Easter reckoning in step with that of the Gregorian calendar.

Easter Sunday dates in Sweden from 1700 to 1844
Year Dionysian
Easter Sunday
(Jul. cal.)
Gregorian
Easter Sunday
(Greg. cal.)
Swedish Easter Sunday Notes
Swedish
calendar
date
Gregorian
calendar
date
1700 March 31 April 11 April   1 April 11 From 1700 to 1711 Dionysian
Easter reckoning reduced
to the Swedish calendar
 
(= Julian calendar + 1 day),
 
except during the years
1705, 1709 and 1711
when Easter was observed
one week earlier
1701 April 20 March 27 April 21 May   1
1702 April   5 April 16 April   6 April 16
1703 March 28 April   8 March 29 April   8
1704 April 16 March 23 April 17 April 27
1705 April   8 April 12 April   2 April 12
1706 March 24 April   4 March 25 April   4
1707 April 13 April 24 April 14 April 24
1708 April   4 April   8 April   5 April 15
1709 April 24 March 31 April 18 April 28
1710 April   9 April 20 April 10 April 20
1711 April   1 April   5 March 26 April   5
From 1712 to 1739 Julian calendar with Dionysian Easter reckoning
1740 April   6 April 17 April   6 April 17 From 1740 to 1752 Julian calendar
with “improved” Easter reckoning
1741 March 29 April   2 March 22 April   2
1742 April 18 March 25 March 14 March 25
1743 April   3 April 14 April   3 April 14
1744 March 25 April   5 March 18 March 29
1745 April 14 April 18 April   7 April 18
1746 March 30 April 10 March 30 April 10
1747 April 19 April   2 March 22 April   2
1748 April 10 April 14 April  3 April 14
1749 March 26 April   6 March 26 April   6
1750 April 15 March 29 March 18 March 29
1751 April   7 April 11 March 31 April 11
1752 March 29 April   2 March 22 April   2
From 1753 to 1844 Gregorian calendar with “improved” Easter reckoning
1802 April 18 April 25 April 18 Years with anomalous Easter dates
observed in this period
1805 April 14 April 21 April 14
1818 March 22 March 29 March 22

 

Note: In Finland, that had been ceded by Sweden to Russia in 1809, the “improved” Easter reckoning remained in use until just before 1867 when the astronomical Easter Sunday was calculated to fall on 21 April and coincide with the second day of Passover. Rather than to postpone Easter to 28 April it was decided to abandon the astronomical reckoning of Easter with Passover postponement and simply adopt the Gregorian reckoning.

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