Why Is Christmas Celebrated on December 25?

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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” This beloved carol echoes in the minds of most when the cool December weather brings the red and green décor to homes and shops. Why does everyone presume that Christmas falls in the month of December, much less December 25? Over the centuries, historians and scholars attempted to discover the true origin of this now widely recognized date. While it is impossible to truly pinpoint the exact reasoning, many theories and ideas, such as the History of Religions Theory (the most factual/believable in existence), the Calculation Theory, and others less commonly recognized, exist to explain the mystery of why Christmas is celebrated worldwide on December 25. The Reformation of the sixteenth century forced Protestants to attack the historical origins of Christmas. Through this attack, two views of Christmas’ origins resulted. Proponents of the History of Religions Theory believe Christmas is a Christianized version of pagan celebrations, such as the birthday of Sol Invictus on December 25, which were acknowledged during the same date on the Roman calendar. Believers in the Calculation Theory argue that Christ’s birth is determined by chronological speculation (Nothaft). The best description of the Calculation Theory is detailed in Thomas J. Talley’s 1986 monograph, Origins of the Liturgical Year (Nothaft). Like Louis Ducharne and Hieronymous Endberding before him, Talley builds on the fact that Chirstmas is centered around the day of Christ’s Passion, which date in the Julian Calendar had already been in place since the second and third centuries. Talley and proponents of this theory trust that Christ spent a perfect number of years in the flesh, because supposedly significant religious fi... ... middle of paper ... ... Search Of Christmas." U.S. News & World Report 121.25 (1996): 56. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Murray, Alexander. "Medieval Christmas." History Today 36.12 (1986): 31. Religion and Philosophy Collection. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Nothaft, Carl Philipp. "From Sukkot To Saturnalia: The Attack On Christmas In Sixteenth-Century Chronological Scholarship." Journal Of The History Of Ideas 72.4 (2011): 503-522. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Coffman, Elisha. “Why December 25?” Christianity Today/Christian History Magazine. 2000. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html. Mcgowan, Andrew. “How December 25 Became Christmas.” 7 December 2012. Bible History Daily. Biblical Archeology Society, 2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

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