Why is Christmas on December 25th?

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


The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where we remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The 'Christ-Mass' service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset and before sunrise the next day, so people had it at midnight. That's how we got the name Christ-Mass (shortened to Christmas).


BUT why the 25th?

There are many different traditions and theories as to why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. An early christian tradition said that the day when Mary was told that she would have Jesus (called the Annunciation) was on March 25th, and it's still celebrated today on that date. Nine months later it's December 25th. A few early Christians also thought that March 25th was the day when the world had been made, and also the day that Jesus died on when he was an adult.


A pagan holiday?

December 25th might have also been chosen because the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals called 'Saturnalia' and 'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti' took place in December around this date. The roman people were already used to celebrating during this time of the year which made it easier for the roman Emperor Costatine to unite his empire under one belief (roman catholicism). Constantine was 'supposedly' the first christian emperor of the roman empire.

The Roman Festival of 'Saturnalia' (December 17th - 23rd) honored the Roman god Saturn.

'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti' means 'birthday of the unconquered sun' and was held on December 25th and was the birthday of the Pagan sun-god Mithra. In the pagan religion of Mithraism the holy day was Sunday, which is why our 'common day sabbath' has become sunday. December 25th is also the date when the romans thought the 'Winter Solstice' took place.




21st December 2015, Kristopher Tribe (CEO/founder, The Creation Guy)