Tuesday April 23, 2019

Orthodox Christmas Day

Burning candles to celebrate the birth of Jesus

The next upcoming Orthodox Christmas Day is on Tuesday January 7th, 2020. On or near January 7 annually according to the Gregorian calendar is the Christmas Day celebration for the Orthodox Christians. Like Christmas Day on December 25, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God. Two other important dates for Orthodox Christians are Orthodox Good Friday commemorating the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Orthodox Easter celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Celebration\ Observance

Orthodox Christians fast before the holiday to prepare themselves in thinking of others particularly the poor, less time on food and preparation, and more time in prayer. Church is attended that day where traditions such as burning frankincense to remember the three wise men who visited Jesus as a baby and brought him gifts. The focus is on unity and peace, not presents and commercial characters.


The Julian calendar is often used by Orthodox Churches. On the Julian calendar Christmas falls on December 25 but on the Gregorian calendar it falls on January 7th each year until the year 2101 when Christmas according to conversion of the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar will fall on January 8th. Some Orthodox Americans observe Christmas according to the Julian calendar revised in 1923 which is similar to the Gregorian calendar, however the majority of Orthodox Churches use the original Julian calendar that dates back to 46 BC during the time of Julius Caesar.

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