MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every year, billions of people spend time with friends and family on December 25th to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But, there’s no mention of Jesus’ birthdate in Bible, so why do we celebrate on the 25th? Good Question.
“They didn’t keep track of when Jesus was born,” said Dr. David Landry, a professor of religion at the University of St. Thomas. “They didn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus for hundreds of years after the birth of Christianity.”
Christmas was first celebrated in the year 336 A.D. by the Romans after Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity.
As for why the date of December 25th was picked, Landry says there are two main theories.
“One argument for why they did that was because there was already a lot of celebrating going on in the pagan world,” he said.
From Dec. 17 through Dec. 23, the Romans celebrated the Saturnalia, the Roman God of Saturn. Many of pagan festivities focused on the winter solstice.
“There were Christians drawn to these festivals because they were a blast,” Landry said.
He said linking the two celebrations would allow Christians to partake in the activities.
Another theory has to do with an event that happened at an existing Christian festival, the feast of the Annunciation, thought to be held on March 25.
“When the angel came to Mary and announced to her that she was going to give birth to the son of God,” he said.
Nine months later would have been Dec. 25.
“They say that’s a more purely Christian explanation,” Landry said.