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Christmas Day

25 December

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00am on of December, repeating indefinitely

The crèche by mystuart on flickr.com

25 December every year: Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

The story of Jesus’s birth or nativity is told by the apostles Matthew and Luke in the New Testament – the part of the Bible that describes the life of Jesus and the early Christians. Jesus’s mother, Mary, was a virgin when she gave birth, and betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter. When she was heavily pregnant they travelled to Joseph’s home town of Bethlehem to take part in a census. The town was full; there was “no room at the inn”, and so Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Shepherds and wise men came to give gifts and adore him – traditionally, people celebrating Christmas give each other gifts as well.

The Bible provides no date for the nativity; 25th December was fixed as the date for Christmas over 300 years after Jesus’s birth, as a way to turn pagan midwinter celebrations into a Christian festival. Eastern Orthodox Christians (such as those living in Eastern Europe, Russia, Greece, Egypt and Ethiopia) celebrate Christmas on 7 January because their church stayed with the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, which was gradually adopted between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Take a look at the following pages, which give a range of Christmas teaching ideas:

The Boston Globe Big Picture has collections of photos online illustrating Christmas celebrations around the world:

Find out more about the history and traditions of Christmas, and its pagan precursors, on the following websites:

See also the following publications for schools, available from RE Today:

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25 December
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