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A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
All the major events of Christ's life, especially the passion, were celebrated on this date.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul mentions Passover, presumably celebrated according to the local calendar in Corinth.
The date of the passion was moved to Good Friday in 165 when Pope Soter created Easter by reassigning the Resurrection to a Sunday.
According to the Calculation hypothesis, celebration of the quartodecimal continued in some areas and the feast became associated with Incarnation.
However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to a January date in the Gregorian calendar.
For Christians, the belief that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than the exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.According to Steven Hijmans of the University of Alberta, "It is cosmic symbolism ...which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ, and the northern solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception." In modern times, March 25 is celebrated as Annunciation.Various factors contributed to the selection of December 25 as a date of celebration: it was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar and it was about nine months after March 25, the date of the vernal equinox and a date linked to the conception of Jesus (now Annunciation).Jesus chose to be born on the shortest day of the year for symbolic reasons, according to an early Christmas sermon by Augustine: "Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length.King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later returns to Nazareth.Christmas played a role in the Arian controversy of the fourth century.Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas during the Reformation.It was restored as a legal holiday in 1660, but remained disreputable.An anonymous work known as De Pascha Computus (243) linked the idea that creation began at the spring equinox, on March 25, with the conception or birth (the word nascor can mean either) of Jesus on March 28, the day of the creation of the sun in the Genesis account.One translation reads: "O the splendid and divine providence of the Lord, that on that day, the very day, on which the sun was made, March 28, a Wednesday, Christ should be born.