Christmas, the widely celebrated holiday marking the birth of Jesus Christ, is observed on December 25th in many parts of the world.

However, some countries have unique traditions and distinct dates for commemorating this festive occasion. Wonder why the discrepancies, well it is rooted in history.

In some countries, Christmas Day is observed either on January 6th or 7th.

Christmas is observed in certain nations across Central Asia and Eastern Europe thirteen days after the official date of December 25. This is a result of the calendar that they follow. These countries are Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Ethiopia, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, and Serbia.

While most nations in the world follow the Gregorian calendar, these specific countries use the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar was created during the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC and was widely used before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, proposed by Latin Pope Gregory of Rome in 1582.

The majority of countries around the globe have transitioned to the new calendar, yet some nations continue to adhere to the old Julian calendar for their traditional holidays. The Epiphany, for instance, is celebrated on January 19, rather than January 6.

In several parts of Russia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7, while some families in Moldova mark January 17 as the birth date of Jesus Christ and as Epiphany, the feast day.

Officially, the Christmas celebration in Italy commences on December 8, recognized as the day of the Immaculate Conception, and concludes on January 6.

It is believed that on the 12th day after Jesus was born, three nobles, popularly called ‘The Three Wise Men’, visited Jesus to shower Him with blessings and gifts. The nine days before Christmas, known as The Novena, mark the journey of the Wise Men to baby Jesus. During this period, religious Italians engage in fervent prayers, while children may dress up as the Wise Men or other biblical characters reciting Christmas songs from door to door.

Certain Christian denominations, such as Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some members of the Churches of Christ, do not celebrate Christmas and choose not to observe it throughout the year. For these groups, the contention arises from the belief that there is no biblical evidence specifying December 25 as the birthdate of Christ.

According to them, the Bible doesn’t prescribe the celebration of Christmas as a religious holiday. Instead, they point to documented accounts of Jesus’ birth according to the gospel of Luke 2: 10-12 and Matthew 1:18-25.

Christians believe that the most triumphant moment in all of human history was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world, which is widely known as Easter Day.

Though scholars’ opinions may differ regarding the exact day of Jesus Christ’s birth, it was widely accepted that the church established December 25th as the date in the early fourth century.

December 25 falls on the Roman calendar’s traditional date of the winter solstice. Because of this, the Gregorian calendar, which is used in every country in the globe, is where Christmas is celebrated on December 25.

As we embrace the holiday season, it’s a reminder that the spirit of Christmas unites people globally, regardless of the specific day on which they choose to celebrate.

Jennifer Ogor/Simeon Ugbodovon

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