Get date for Easter in PHP

Josh Sherman
1 min read
Software Development PHP

All the good things about Easter aside, it’s one of those holidays that’s a pain to get the date for. This is because the date of Easter is based on the lunar cycle and Spring Equinox (March 21st). The date of Easter on a given year could fall between March 22nd and April 25th. Fortunately PHP has us covered with a pair of functions, one to get the number of days after March 21st until Easter Sunday and a second function that gives us the exact date.

If you simply want to know the number of days after March 21st, you can use easter_days() which takes a single argument for the year you want to know the number of days for:

$days = easter_days(1981);

Personally, this function doesn’t have much value to me when the counterpart of easter_date() exists. The date function takes the same argument but keep in mind that it returns the Unix timestamp, so if you want the date you will need to use the date() function as well:

$easter_ts   = easter_date(1981);
$easter_date = date('Y-m-d', $easter_ts);

Knowing the date of Easter is also good for being able to determine a few other important days like Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Happy Easter y’all!

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Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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