1. Born on Christmas Day
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December. However, early believers didn't mark the event as they considered it a pagan practice. They also expected their Messiah to return soon and bring about the end of the world as foretold in biblical prophecies.
But by the 3rd Century Christians had begun to organise their ministry and debate the merits of various feast days to mark Jesus’ birth. Suggestions for Christmas included 21 March and 20 May.
Yet by 336AD the Church of Rome, now accepted by the Roman Empire, had settled on 25 December. How they got there reveals much about the young religion.
2. How did they decide?
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke didn’t mention when Jesus' birth was. So why did the Roman Church adopt 25 December?
3. ANIMATION: Journey to 25 December
Christian scholars studied scriptures and symbolic meanings to decide when to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Watch the animation below to discover how they came to 25 December...
4. Christmas traditions
How well do you know the nativity story? Find out below what is tradition and what is written in the Bible.