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Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th

Was Jesus born on December 25th?

Christmas falls on December 25th every year and is universally celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ.

But was Jesus really born on December 25th? The answer is yes if you are an average person on the street who blindly accepts whatever popular culture and tradition dictate. The answer is a resounding no if you are smart and like to do your research.

While the Bible does not provide us with a date, it does provide us with enough clues to rule out a winter birth for Jesus.
For instance, at the time of His birth, the Bible tells us in Luke 2:8 that the shepherds were watching over their sheep grazing in the fields at night. December is a cold and rainy time of the year in Israel. No one in their right mind would take sheep out to graze as temperatures drop down to the single digits.

Why December 25th?

Jesus was not born on December 25th. So what’s so special about this date?
Why of all the days in the year was December 25th chosen as Christmas Day?

Well, there is more to this story than what meets the eye. If we dig a little deeper into this rabbit hole, we find that this date was not chosen by random chance. It turns out that December 25th was an auspicious day for all the pagans, witches and Wiccans since time immemorial. Many ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc venerated this day.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year and occurs in the Northern Hemisphere between December 21 – December 23. The name Solstice is derived from the Latin word solstitium, which means the sun is standing still.

winter solstice on earth

Seasons are caused because the Earth’s axis is tilted by 23.5 degrees. The northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun in December leading to shorter days and colder temperatures. At this time, the sun rises late and sets early. Between July and December, the sun moves across the sky from the north to the south with each passing day, appearing lower and lower in the sky.

As a result, there is lesser and lesser sunlight until the day of the solstice when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky and daylight hours are at its minimum. The sun remains at this position for three days until it begins its northward journey again from December 25th.

Therefore the 25th of December is the first day after the solstice that the sun appears more visible and shines for a long time during the day. This effect of the solstice is exacerbated and more noticeable as we move closer to the north pole, which gets no sunlight at all during the solstice period.

Winter Solstice Celebrations from around the world

Ancient cultures throughout human history worshipped the sun as a source of light and life. They revered the sun, considering it to have healing powers, crucial to their existence.

As we trace pagan cultures from around the world, we see that they worshiped the sun under various names such as Tonatiuh (Aztecs), Ra (Egyptians), Lugh (Celts), Liza (West Africans), Amaterasu (Japanese), Shamash (Sumerians), Surya (Indians), Helios (Greeks), Apollo (Romans) and so on.

stonehenge winter solstice
Stonehenge in England

The ancient pagans noticed and documented the solstice phenomenon. To track the movements of the sun, pagan cultures from around the world built sophisticated sundials and giant monuments such as the pyramids at Giza, the Stonehenge in Britain, the Newgrange burial mound in Ireland and the Sun Gate at the Inca site in Machu Picchu.

But the pagans living thousands of years before us didn’t have the aid of modern science and astronomy to understand that the winter solstice is a natural phenomenon and happens due to the motion of the Earth. Instead, they attributed this celestial event to arcane religious causes.

The winter solstice was an uncertain and apocalyptic time of the year for them. With no modern aids such as torches and electricity, their only source of light was the sun. They spent most of their day time outdoors as their society was primarily agrarian. Hence the sun played a crucial role in their lives.

Mayan Pyramid Mexico
Mayan Pyramid Mexico

The pagans believed that the sun god died and was reborn on the Winter Solstice. Therefore they revered and idolized December 25th (In the Julian Calendar) as its birthday. The winter solstice phenomenon had a deeply profound effect on the naive pagans. The ubiquitous prevalence of common rituals and fables across different world cultures is proof of that. The theme of the celebrations revolved around rebirth, renewal of life, and merry-making.

The Witches Yule

witches celebrating christmas

The Yule begins the witches year and is popularly known among them as the witches Christmas. The return of sunlight is considered a joyous occasion to be shared with family and friends. An important Yule ritual is to decorate altars with evergreens, holly, and mistletoe. Witches partake of key rituals such as lighting candles, burning Yule logs and decorating evergreen trees with the winter colors of white, green, red, and gold.

Shab-e Yalda

Iranians all over the world celebrate Yalda on the winter solstice. It is one of the most ancient Persian festivals. Shab-e Yalda, which means the Night of Birth, is a time to commemorate the triumph, of the sun god Mitra, over darkness. People gather along with their family and friends to eat, drink, light fires, and read poetry throughout the whole night.

The reason for gathering together is to protect one another from the evil darkness of the longest night of the year. They prefer eating fruits such as pomegranates and watermelons because of their red color, which symbolizes hues of dawn and glow of life.

This celebration is of such a significant cultural heritage that the Iranian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism is striving hard to get Shab-e Yalda pushed onto the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2021.

Dongzhi Festival

Dongzhi means “the Extreme of Winter”. It is an ancient festival that originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), a period which is often referred to as the golden period of Chinese history. It is celebrated by the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. It is related to the yin yang philosophy. Yin is associated with negative energy and is symbolic of the darkness of the winter solstice period. This is overcome by the yang which is the positive energy associated with increasing sunlight and warmth.

It is a time to buy brand new clothes, visit family and friends with gifts and to gather together for a nice meal long into the night. The most distinctive aspect of Dongzhi is the tradition of eating glutinous rice balls known as tang yuan, which means ‘family reunion’.

Even to this date, many Chinese commemorate their ancestors on this date by performing rituals and offering sacrifices. The Taiwanese people still stick tang yuan in their houses to ward off evil spirits.


The indigenous people of North America, the Hopi Indians, celebrate Soyal to welcome the sun back from its winter slumber.

It is the most important festival which marks the beginning of the year on the “Wheel of the Year.”

It is a time of religious purification, prayers, spending time with families, and involvement in social activities such as gift-giving and dancing. On the winter solstice, the Hopis perform rituals to invite the Kachinas which were considered to be supernatural, protective spirits.

The Hopi believe that the Kachinas help them to live in harmony with nature and aid them in bringing rain, crops, and fertility. Kachina Dolls are given to children to teach them the importance of tradition. Families and friends get together to express goodwill and gratitude, share traditional meals, sing songs, light fires, and pray to the spirits to thank them for the rebirth of the sun.

Inti Raymi

The Incas celebrated Inti Raymi to welcome the Inca new year and honor their God Inti. It is still celebrated as a major holiday in Peru. Celebrations involve sharing food with family and friends, music, and wearing colorful costumes.
In ancient times, the festival involved human and animal sacrifices, but today people instead offer figurines and effigies.


Saturnalia was the most popular of the Roman festivals celebrated in honor of the agricultural god Saturn. It was a week-long celebration from December 17th to December 23rd.

Saturnalia by Antoine Callet
Themadchopper, Antoine-François Callet [CC0]

Saturnalia was an official holiday and schools, and businesses were closed. During the holiday, some of the laws were temporarily revoked and restrictions were relaxed. During the festivities, the social order was inverted, and moral restraints were eased. Slaves were allowed to roam free and do as they please.

It was a time for gambling, partying, visiting friends, and gift-giving. People decorated their homes with evergreens and wreaths. On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.

…the feast in honor of Saturn, celebrated by the Romans in December and regarded as a time of unrestrained license and merriment for all classes, even for the slaves The Standard American Encyclopedia
It [Saturnalia] probably originated as a harvest celebration. Under the Caesars it was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd of December, during which period businesses were closed, masters and slaves changed places, and feasting, giving of gifts, and general license prevailed

Of all the pagan winter solstice festivals, Saturnalia has had the most direct influence on the celebration of the Christian Christmas. Under the Julian Calendar, the Romans celebrated winter solstice on December 25th. It was the most important and influential festival celebrated by all the pagans in the Roman Empire. Encyclopedia Americana

Dies Natalis Invicti Solis

Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire. On 25 December AD 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian officially inaugurated December 25th as the birthday of the “Sun God” and dedicated a new temple for Sol. Every emperor from Aurelian till Constantine favored Sol and had coins made in his honor. According to the Philocalian calendar, the Romans celebrated Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, meaning the birthday of the Unconquered Sun, on December 25th every year.  People indulged in revelries and merrymaking. Groups of singers and dancers called mummers would wear costumes and go from house to house to entertain their neighbors.

Birthday of the Persian God, Mithras

Mithras on Nemrut Mountains in Turkey
Statue of Mithras on Nemrut Mountains

During the early centuries of the Christian era, the Romans also worshipped Mithras, a Persian god of light and wisdom. According to the official Catholic Encyclopedia, December 25th was observed as the birthday of Mithra.

The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season. Catholic Encyclopedia


The word Brumalia comes from the Latin bruma meaning “shortest day”. Brumalia, was the festival that marked the end of the winter solstice festival of Saturnalia. It was celebrated in honor of Saturn and Baccus – the Roman god of agriculture, wine, and fertility. Usually, a pig would be sacrificed on this day. Brumalia was also a time to practice ritualistic magic to prevent chaotic spirits from catching people by surprise in the darkness. Brumalia was also celebrated on December 25th.

The early Church never celebrated the birthday of Christ

From historical records, it is very clear that the early church never celebrated the birthday of Christ. They didn’t even know which day He was born. If the people who lived within the first hundred years of Christ didn’t know when He was born, what makes you think that people living hundreds and thousands of years after Christ will ever find out his birth date.

The first-ever mention or connection between Christ and December 25th was made in 221 AD by Sextus Julius Africanus, a Christian historian, in his book, Chronographiae.

Evidence from well-known Encyclopedias and also the Catholic Church

Christmas, the holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated by a majority of Christians on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar. But early Christians did not celebrate his birth, and no one knows on which date Jesus was born (some scholars believe that the actual date was in the early spring, placing it closer to Easter, the holiday commemorating his Resurrection).Wikipedia
“Christmas…It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church” Encyclopedia Americana, 1944 edition
“The true birth date of Christ is unknown.”
“The origins of the celebration of Christmas are somewhat obscure. There is no documented evidence of any type of Christmas observance during the first 300 years of the Christian era. The New Testament does not identify the date of Jesus’s birth, and during the early years of Christianity there was no traditional date ascribed to the nativity” The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States - Oxford University Press
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt
The Catholic Encyclopedia

When and why was the birthday of Jesus changed to December 25th

Winter Solstice Pagan Sacrifice
Winter Solstice Pagan Sacrifice

Winter solstice has always been a prevalent tradition throughout human history. It is interesting to note that cultures with widely varying beliefs and separated by thousands of miles, all shared similar practices and rites.

These solstice festivals and especially the ones kept by the Romans has had a tremendous impact on Christmas celebrations.
Winter solstice was celebrated on December 25th by the Romans ever since Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 46 BC. The Romans had been celebrating December 25th as the birthday of the sun God for many centuries before Christ. This practice continued up until the 4th Century A.D when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.

According to the below quote from the Catholic church, early church leaders such as Irenaeus (130-200 A.D), Tertullian 170-220 A.D, and Origen (185-254) did not endorse Christmas, nor did Augustine even list it as an important holiday.

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts The Catholic Encyclopedia
Constantine the great
Constantine the great

When Constantine accepted Christianity in 312 AD, he outlawed Paganism and made Roman Catholicism the official religion of the state. To win over the Roman pagans to Christianity, Constantine, in collaboration with the Catholic Church, converted all the pagan Roman temples into churches and all the Pagan God figures into saints from the Bible.

Great efforts were made to convert all pagans into Christians. The Roman leaders and the Papacy realized that an easy way to gain the pagan followers would be to adapt their religious festivals and traditions into Christianity.

Since December 25th was already such a huge hit with the masses, the papacy deemed it an excellent idea to fake the birth of Jesus on that day. According to Wikipedia, Pope Julius 1 (337 – 352) officially declared December 25th as the birthday of Jesus around 350 A.D. His successor Pope Liberius (310 – 366), clarified that they chose this date for Christmas to coincide with the Roman solstice celebrations.

In the 4th century CE, the pope was the head of the Christian church in Western Europe. But he didn’t have much sway over the other two major centers of Christianity – Jerusalem, and Antioch which were the true epicenters of Christianity.

Even as late as 385-386 AD, a majority of Christians had not accepted this false pagan worship day even though the whole Roman Christian empire was celebrating Christmas.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports on this:

In 385, therefore, 25 December was not observed at JerusalemThe Catholic Encyclopedia
In view of a reaction to certain Jewish rites and feasts, Chrysostom tries to unite Antioch in celebrating Christ’s birth on 25 December, part of the community having already kept it on that day for at least ten years The Catholic Encyclopedia

As Roman Catholic religion became dominant, they overthrew the leadership of Jerusalem and Antioch and managed to force the entire Christian world to accept December 25th as the birthday of Christ.

Note: Winter solstice doesn’t take place on December 25th because, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar from Julian to Gregorian. Due to this, the dates of the winter solstice phenomenon shifted, so that they now happen between December 21st – December 22nd on our modern-day Gregorian calendar. Since Christmas was already being celebrated as a major festival for hundreds of years, the papacy decided to retain the December 25th date of Christmas.

Evidence from Encyclopedias and Scholars:

“Around 350 A.D. Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the official date of the birth of Jesus,[ around the same time as the festival of Saturnalia;the actual date of Jesus’s birth is unknown. Some have speculated that part of the reason why he chose this date may have been because he was trying to create a Christian alternative to Saturnalia. Another reason for the decision may have been because, in 274 AD, the Roman emperor Aurelian had declared 25 December the birthdate of Sol Invictus and Julius I may have thought that he could attract more converts to Christianity by allowing them to continue to celebrate on the same day.” Wikipedia
“In 354, Liberius associated the winter solstice or Brumalia, by then the feast of Mithras and the Unconquered Sun with the birth of Jesus Christ.” Wikipedia
How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) following the Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day in the year and the ‘new sun,’ . . . cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. . . . The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival. New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge by Schaff Philip
A star cult, sun-worship, became (in the third century A.D.) the dominant official creed, paving the road for the ultimate triumph of Judaeo-Christian monotheism. So strong was the belief in the Invincible Sun (Sol Invictus) that for example Constantine I (d. 337), himself at first a devotee of the sun cult, found it, indeed perfectly compatible with his pro-Christian sympathies to authorize his own portrayal as Helios. And in 354 the ascendant Christian church in the reign of his pious but unsavory son, Constantius II, found it prudent to change the celebration of the birth of Jesus from the traditional date (January 6) to December 25, in order to combat the pagan Sun god’s popularity—his “birthday” being December 25. Frederick H. Cramer, Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, p. 4. Copyright 1954 by the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia.
“[p. 89] A very general observance required that on the 25th of December the birth of the “new Sun” should be celebrated, when after the winter solstice the days began to lengthen and the “invincible” star triumphed again over darkness. It is certain that the date of this Natalis Invicti was selected by the Church as the commemoration of the Nativity of Jesus, which was previously confused with the Epiphany. In appointing this day, universally marked by pious rejoicing, which were as far as possible retained,—for instance the old chariot-races were preserved,—the ecclesiastical authorities purified in some degree the customs which they could not abolish. This substitution, which took place at Rome probably between 354 and 360, was adopted throughout the Empire, and that is why we still celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December.” Franz Cumont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans (reprint; New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1960), pp. 89
[p. 198]Christmas must have been kept as a feast not only in 354, but, as is clear from a comparison with the Chronographer’s Depositio Episcoporum, as far back as 336. However this may be, the feast certainly existed in Rome before 360, and from thence it spread throughout the Church; Justin I [p. 199] (518-27) was, nevertheless, obliged to issue decrees making its observation compulsory throughout the empire…December 25 seems to have been chosen on account of the Roman custom of keeping this day as the festival of Sol Invictus – i.e. of the re-birth of the sun; it was judged fitting to substitute for the pagan feast a Christian one commemorating the birth of the true Sun of the world and Redeemer of mankind. Manual of Church History, Volume I., by Dr. F. X. Funk, Published by B. Herder, 17 South Broadway, St. Louis, Mo., Copyright 1912 pp. 198-199

The Catholic Church accepts that it changed the birthday of Jesus to December 25th

The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date The Catholic Encyclopedia
Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia
The reasons for celebrating our major feasts when we do are many and varied. In general, however, it is true that many of them have at least an indirect connection with the pre-Christian feasts celebrated about the same time of year — feasts centering around the harvest, the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice (now Dec. 21, but Dec. 25 in the old Julian calendar), the renewal of nature in spring, and so on. The New Question Box - Catholic Life for the Nineties, copyright 1988 by John J. Dietzen, M.A., S.T.L., ISBN 0-940518-01-5 (paperback), published by Guildhall Publishers, Peoria Illinois, 61651., page 554


There are thousands of different cultures and religions spread across the four corners of the Earth who have attached great religious and spiritual importance to winter solstice celebrations.

These traditions have had a significant influence on how Christmas is celebrated today. Almost all aspects of Christmas such as the December 25th date, underlying themes of fertility, Santa, victory of good over evil, Christmas trees, yule logs, Christmas decorations, the colors of Christmas (green, red, white and gold), Christmas carols, gift-giving, wassailing, etc. have all been borrowed from these ancient indigenous ceremonies.

No wonder the historian, Kenneth C. Davis claims that Christmas is really about bringing out your inner pagan!

Kupala Night Solstice Celebrations
Kupala Night Solstice Celebrations

Popular Encyclopedias, scholars, and even the Catholic Church admit that Jesus was not born on December 25th.
They all accept that Christians who lived within the first couple of centuries of Christ never even observed His birthday, nor did they even know the date He was born, let alone celebrate Christmas on December 25th!

Isn’t it shocking that we have a fallacious date for Jesus’s birth, which has been directly borrowed from the pagans and accepted as a fact by millions of people around the world!

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

If you are thinking that engaging in Christmas festivities is just harmless fun, then think again because it can have a detrimental impact on your relationship with God. If you continue to participate in these pagan celebrations despite knowing the true origin of this dark, mystical, and occultic festival, then you are standing in direct rebellion against God.

No matter how logical or innocent Christmas looks on the surface, you need to understand that the Christmas rituals have been directly influenced by demons with an evil agenda to dupe you into practicing ancient magic, witchcraft, and sorcery which God has forbidden.

God knew that evil and dark forces would seduce His people into borrowing pagan customs to serve Him. That is why He warned His people in Deuteronomy 12:30-32 to stay from these deceptive enchantments.

30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deuteronomy 12:30-32

The real question now is this: Even after knowing what this pagan Christmas festival really means would you still want to celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ on December 25th?


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