Christmas Trivia - December 25

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25?

Christians did not celebrate Christmas at all for the first 300 years after the birth of Jesus, and church leaders debated whether it was appropriate to celebrate the birth of Jesus at all, since birthday celebrations were a Pagan tradition. However, once a birthday celebration was determined to be in order, many different potential dates were considered.

One theory suggests that December 25th was eventually settled upon because it was already the date of two solstice-related festivals - the Roman birth of the unconquered sun, and the Iranian god of light -- plus the solstice celebration itself was just a few days earlier.

Church leaders were keen, the theory goes, to turn a celebration of the sun into a celebration of the one who made the sun, because providing comparable festivals would make it easier to convince Rome's pagan citizens to accept Christianity as the empire's official religion. In 361 AD the first Christmas celebration was declared. 

Alternately, it is sometimes suggested that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same day, on March 25th, so his birth would have been calculated to be nine months later on December 25th.

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