Thursday, December 24, 2020

What day was Jesus born? Depends what country you're from

In my bicultural relationship with Andrea, we joke about something every Christmas season: if we take the story of Jesus's birth at this time of year seriously, what day was he actually born on? In Germany and Switzerland, the Christkind was born on Heiligabend, the "holy evening" of Christmas Eve, while in the UK and the US, the baby Jesus was born on Christmas Day (as "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" explicitly says). The historicist atheist in me says the holiday is celebrated now because of early Christian competition with the post-Solstice celebration of Saturnalia in ancient Rome, but the American in me insists that JC was born on the 25th! (Andrew Shields, #111words, 24 December)

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