You May Think You know When Christmas is Celebrated
Many people think that Christmas is only celebrated on December 25th. Not so fast...read on!
For many people around the world, in different countries and in different Christian traditions, Christmas lasts for a lot longer than that - and it's even celebrated at different times!
Although December 25th is the date when most people celebrate Christmas, there are some other dates as well!
Some churches (mainly Orthodox churches) use a different calendar for their religious celebrations. Orthodox Churches in Russia, Serbia, Jerusalem, Ukraine, Ethiopia and other countries use the old 'Julian' calendar and people in those churches celebrate Christmas on January 7th.
Most people in the Greek Orthodox Church celebrate Christmas on December 25th. But some still use the Julian calendar and celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January! Some Greek Catholics also celebrate on January 7th.
In Armenia, the Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6th. It also celebrates 'Epiphany' on this day.
Before Christmas, many Christians use the time of Advent to prepare themselves and get ready to celebrate the joy of Christmas, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.
Advent is normally a period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. In many Orthodox and Eastern Catholics Churches Advent lasts for 40 days, starting on November 15th. In Orthodox Churches which celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January, Advent starts on November 28th!
During Advent many people fast. The types of food people give up depends on their church tradition and the part of the world in which they live.
After Advent, traditionally, Christmas celebrations start on Christmas Day and last for 12 Days. Thus The 12 Days of Christmas! The celebration ends on the evening of January 5th, better known as the Twelfth Night. Throughout history, the 12 Days of Christmas have been a time of feasting and fun.
Following Twelfth Night, January 6th, is Epiphany, when people remember the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus. Epiphany is also the traditional time to take your Christmas decorations down - although some people leave them up until Candlemas.
You might think that Christmas ends when you take the Christmas Decorations down - but it doesn't! After both Christmas and the season of Epiphany, the end of the Christmas celebrations come on February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas, with Candlemas.
Candlemas, also known as the 'Presentation of Jesus at the Temple' or the 'Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary' is when some Christians remember the time when Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem to give thanks to God for giving them a son. It's a very important day in some Orthodox and Catholic churches.
The name Candlemas comes from 'Candle Mass' because in many Candlemas services, the candles are blessed to be used in churches during the coming year or are given out to people for them to use in their homes and private prayers.
In many Catholic churches, it's a time when people remember and renew promises they've made to the church and celebrate some of the prophesies which were given about Jesus.
In many Eastern/Orthodox churches, an all night vigil is held on the night before the candle blessing ceremony. In the morning, the candles are blessed and are given out to people. This is the end of the Christmas Celebration for many.
There are a lot of various Christmas Celebrations in this world, but all of them celebrate the same thing....Jesus!