Traditions of Christmas: The Date of Christmas

posted in: Christmas, Holidays | 0

We know that Jesus was not born on December 25th, so why do we celebrate his birthday on this date?

The exact birthday of Jesus is unknown. Scholars believe that he may have been born sometime in either spring or autumn.

Early Christians debated when the day should be celebrated.

“The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.”

The theories for why December 25th vary greatly.

The most common theory is that winter solstice celebrations occurred around this time and this was a marriage of the pagan and Christian celebrations. Many of the customs were given Christian meanings.

Epiphany was celebrated by the church on January 6th.

The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place to honor the Roman god Saturn between December 17th-December 23rd.

Another early Christian tradition is that the angel appeared to Mary telling her of her coming child on March 25th. Nine months later is December 25th.

The Jewish festival of Lights, Hanukkah, starts on the 25th of Kislev {which is the equivalent of our December}.

Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25, 336 AD.

The name Christmas comes from the Mass of Christ.

Regardless of how the celebration came to be, the important fact is that we do celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

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