5 Shocking Facts About Christmas Day

5 Dark Facts about Christmas that nobody ever told you.
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Do you know that Christmas is celebrated on two days across the world. Or did you know that the date of birth of Jesus was not finalized until 221 CE. Or that Christmas became a major Christian Festival only after the 9th century

1. Dec 25 was a Roman Solstice Festival

Do you know that the day of Dec 25 every year was actually a Roman Festival names ” The Day of the Sun Reborn”. This festival marked the day of Winter Solstice when the sun was considered to have reborn as from this period, the days would get gradually longer till the Summer Solstice on June 21.

The original name of the festival was “dies solis invicti nati” which translated to the Day of Birth of the Unconquered Sun.

Sometimes I have heard arguments that early Christians differentiated themselves from Romans and would not appropriate a day meant for a Roman festival as Christmas day. However, the Council of Nicaea appropriated many such dates.

2. Two Christmas Days – Jan 7 and Dec 25

Diff between Gregorian and Julian Calendar
Diff between Gregorian and Julian Calendar

You might be surprised to know that the world celebrated Christmas on two different days. For Eastern Orthodox Christianity the day of the Christmas is not December 25 but January 7 every year.

The reason for the 13 day shift was that of use of Calendars. Roman Catholics follow the common Gregorian Calendar while the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian Calendar which is currently 13 days ahead.

3. Dec 25 was Assumed to be the Birth of Jesus by Sextus Julius Africanus

Sextus Julius Africanus
Sextus Julius Africanus

Earlier, the birth day of Jesus was never identified until 221 CE when Sextus Julius Africanus, the traveler and an early Christianity follower identified the Jesus’s birth date on Dec 25.

Sextus also had a significant influence on the famous early Christian historian, Eusebius who is famously known as the author of

  • Biography of Emperor Constantine
  • Biography of Emperor Augustus
  • History of the Church
  • On the Life of Pamphilus
  • Chronicle
  • On the Martyrs

4. Christmas Celebrations Started After 9th Century

25th December was celebrated as Christmas day since 336 AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine.

Further Till the 9th Century, Christmas was not even a major Christian Festival. The traditions of gifting within families was established much later in the 18th century.

The major Christian festivals before that era were Good Friday and Easter.

5. Christians Initially Opposed the Celebration of Jesus Birth

Early Christians opposed the celebrations of any martyr’s birthday as the focus was on their death and sacrifice and not on their birth.

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