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Return to main menu QUESTION: Why does the church year begin at Advent, what is the history of Advent, and what is the history behind the Advent candles and wreath?
Needless to say, there was no little controversy over this discrepancy, and it wasn't until the Ecumenical Council of Nicea in A. 325 that the churches of the world finally got together and agreed on this rule: Easter Day shall always fall on the Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. Various astronomical and calendrical solutions have been used at different times down through the centuries, but even today there is still no unanimity among churches concerning the celebration of Easter.
The ashes are usually derived from the burned palms from the previous Palm Sunday.
Experience will show, however, that in obtaining ashes this way, it doesn't take many ashes to "ash" a whole congregation. One palm leaf will produce enough ashes for several years.
Just Not the Same For instance, the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Greek, Russian, Romanian, etc.) celebrate Easter according to the spring equinox on the older Julian Calendar.
Lutherans in the Western Church (along with Roman Catholic and Protestant churches) celebrate Easter according to the newer Gregorian Calendar (in effect since 1582).