Holidays and Traditions
Christmas
Christianity

Why did Christmas begin?

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06/24/2010

The History of Christmas

Before the fourth century, the primary Christian celebration was Easter, celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. For more information about Christmas and other holidays (literally means "holy days"), see related link.

It is also to celebrate the Birth of Jesus.