Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th
Dr. Hans Förster, 50, church historian at the University of Vienna:
"The New Testament research has shown that it is practically impossible to determine the exact date of Jesus' birth. There are too many contradicting sources. For a long time, the thesis has been put forward in religious history that December 25th was determined by the Church as the birthday of Christ because it wanted to tie in with Sol Invictus festivals, i.e. the pagan solstice celebrations that were celebrated on that day. The birth of Jesus, a figure of light, would in this reading be a sun cult reinterpreted according to Christian standards in order to accelerate Christianization this inculturation hypothesis is probably misleading. There is insufficient evidence that in the 4th century, when Christmas was developing, winter solstice celebrations were of great importance. Century advocated Christmas Day precisely because there were no pagan celebrations on that day.
Much more plausible than the reference to the solstice celebrations seems the thesis that one wanted to offer an event to the pilgrims in the Holy Land, who became more and more numerous in the 4th century. You knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a Church of the Nativity there, so you needed a birthday party too. December 25th fitted in well with the church holidays, and the date when the days are slowly getting longer embodied the hope that was nourished by the birth of Jesus.
The fact that in some countries Christmas is celebrated on the evening of the 24th is easy to explain: in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, numerous festive days begin with the sunset of the previous day. "
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