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‘How December 25 Became Christmas’

December 12, 2012

Writing for the website of the Biblical Archaeology Society, Andrew McGowan, president of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, discounts the theory that Christmas is celebrated on December 25 because a pagan Roman holiday was celebrated around that time.

Instead, McGowan notes that some fourth- and fifth-century writers, including St. Augustine, believed that Christ was both conceived and crucified on March 25, and thus Christmas was celebrated on December 25.


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  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 12, 2012 2:10 PM ET USA

    Though the article does not mention it, this is obviously part of the Golden Legend (Bishop de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275)- I taught this to 8th graders. As the Annunciation occurred on March 25, it only makes sense that Christmas happened 9 months later on December 25. Also on March 25 in different years, of course: Adam was created; Cain slew Abel; Melchisdech's offering in the presence of Abraham; Abraham offered Isaac; John the Baptist was beheaded; and Jesus was crucified.