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How did Christmas start?

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Christmas or "Christ's Mass," the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth, began in European and Middle Eastern Christendom in the 3rd Century. These early celebrations, feasts, or "Masses" were not standardized or widely held. It is thought that the early Christians did not widely celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is most likely true since the primary focus was on His life, crucifixion, and particularly His resurrection (Easter).


There certainly were some early celebrations. Early writings including a "feast calendar" written in 243AD indicate that there were some celebrations in the third century and perhaps in the second century. Christmas celebrations did not gain widespread prominence however until the Middle Ages or starting from around 400AD.

These celebrations began and occurred in the areas where Christianity started and spread, the areas around the Mediterranean, including the Middle East, North Africa, southern Europe.

Christmas day, December 25, is not necessarily the actual date of Christ's birth. The true date may not be known because we lack enough information to pinpoint it precisely. (Beware that there are many who claim to have calculated the actual date and are most likely no more accurate than December 25.) Other dates including December 25 were used for this feast.

December 25 was settled on by the early church for reasons that are not absolutely clear (but there are some logical reasons for that date).
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