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The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations.The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25.E., when the apocryphal text known as the Epistle to the Apostles has Jesus instruct his disciples to “make commemoration of [his] death, that is, the Passover.” Jesus’ ministry, miracles, Passion and Resurrection were often of most interest to first- and early-second-century C. We can begin to see this shift already in the New Testament.The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth.

Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown).

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th.

Jesus is crucified the next morning—still, the 15th.

Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion.

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Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death.

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