What is the significance of December 25? We all know that it is Christmas Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus and a time of families, presents and laughter, but why is it celebrated on that particular day?

In Armenia it is January 19 and in some eastern countries it is January 6 — so who decided on December?

The actual date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, but we do know that he was born during the reign of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. In the Roman Empire, the pagan festival of Saturnalia was celebrated in December which provided Christians with the time for their own celebrations, including the celebration of the Saviour’s birth.

When St Augustine went to England about two hundred years later, Pope Gregory advised him to keep the dates of the pagan feasts but give them new meaning by using them for Christian festivals. Consequently, the old Scandinavian mid-winter Yuletide festival was transformed into the birthday feast of Jesus Christ and so Christmas became a December celebration.