What Day Does Christmas Fall on in 2016?

Share: 

Rate this Article: 

Average: 3.3 (32 votes)

The meaning and origins of Christmas Day

Christmas Nativity

What day of the week is Christmas in 2016? Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25? Enjoy our everything-Christmas page with Christmas dates, the history of Christmas, and more!

Meaning of Christmas Day

Christmas Day is an annual Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Specifically, the meaning of Christmas comes in the remembrance and celebration of God’s presence in our world through Jesus, God made flesh.

Christmas is also extensively celebrated by non-Christians as a seasonal holiday on which popular traditions such as gift-giving, feasting, and caroling take place.

History of Christmas Day

In ancient times, Celts divided the year into four sections marked by quarter days, the days of the two solstices and two equinoxes. The winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, was the fourth quarter day. It signaled a celebratory time, as the Sun began to reemerge and the land experienced a rebirth. Gradually, to conform more closely to the liturgical year of the Christian church, the fourth quarter day merged easily with the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ.

Why is Christmas Day on December 25?

As Christianity began to spread in the 4th century, the Christmas feast day was set on December 25 by Pope Julius I to align with the Roman pagan holiday Dies natalis solis invicti, “the birth of the invincible Sun.” Although the actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown, this is why Christmas is symbolically celebrated on the 25th of December since the 4th century.

Christmas Customs and Symbolism

Today’s rich mosaic of Christmas customs dates back through the ages. Evergreen branches were used to symbolize life in ancient solstice festivals, as they stayed green in winter. This tradition was absorbed by Christians, who interpreted the evergreens as the Paradise tree and began decorating them with apples.

The candles and lights associated with Christmas, meant to symbolize guiding beacons for the Christ child, may have evolved from the Yule log, which was lit to entice the Sun to return as part of the jol (Yule) festival in pagan Scandinavia.

tree-685019_1280_full_width.jpg

Christmas Day Dates 2016

Year Christmas
2016 Sunday, December 25
2017 Monday, December 25
2018 Tuesday, December 25

Christmas Facts, Feasting, and Fun

imp-1098737_1280_full_width.jpg

Christmas Folklore

Here at the The Old Farmer’s Almanac, we love our folklore, and so do our readers! A selection for your perusal:

Christmas in snow, Easter in mud. 

A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard. 

If December be changeable and mild, The whole winter will remain a child.

Thunder in December presages fine weather.

December cold with snow, good for rye.

If at Christmas ice hangs on the willow, clover may be cut at Easter.

As many mince pies as you taste at Christmas, so many happy months will you have.

christmas-food-577876_1280_full_width.jpg

Christmas Verse

Here are some of our favorite quotations. Do any speak to you?

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you!

Beggar’s Rhyme

All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good-will henceforth from heaven to earth
begin and never cease
!
Nahum Tate

Granny’s come to our house, And ho! my lawzy-daisy!
All the children round the place ist a-runnin’ crazy!

James Whitcomb Riley

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Darling of the world is come,
And fit it is we find a room
To welcome Him.
The nobler part
Of all the house here is the heart.

Robert Herrick

Hark, how all the Welkin rings,
‘Glory to the King of Kings’;
Peace on Earth, and Mercy mild,
God and sinners reconcil’d.

Charles Wesley

joyful-christmas.jpg
We wish all our readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas!

More From The Almanac

Comments

Add new comment

Christmas

Gardening tips

Not quite

Heh. I almost typed the same thing I typed last year, before I realized that you were running the same article from last year. However, again:

'As Christianity began to spread in the 4th century, the Christmas feast day was set on December 25 by Pope Julius I to align with the Roman pagan holiday Dies natalis solis invicti, “the birth of the invincible Sun.” '

This is inaccurate. Christians were observing December 25 since the 200s - BEFORE the holiday of Sol Invictus existed. It is more possible that the Romans promulgated Sol Invictus in an attempt to co-opt the Christian observance (in the same way that they built pagan shrines on sites of Christan veneration). March 25th - the Feast of the Annunciation, Jesus' conception - is OLDER than the celebration of the Nativity. December 25th is nine months later.

Although there is debate, most scholars no longer believe that the date of Christmas comes from a pagan holiday.

Inaccurate, Pro-Christian Propaganda

Christmas is actually a Pagen holiday, but due to Christians conquering lands, Christians decided to merge their beliefs into the Pagen holiday to gain more followers. Originally, Pagens would have feast, commit homicide, and enduldge in drinking alcohol. Christmas is not a Christian holiday. Historians agree that the birth of Jesus was most likely in the summer.

Respect

All comments that are not family-friendly will be deleted. We accept all opinions, however, we do not tolerate taunting behavior or disrespect of ANY religion. This is fully at the discretion of the The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Merry Christmas to all! That

Merry Christmas to all! That goes for last year,too.

Merry Christmas to you!

Thanks, potsonna2, we always appreciate your positive posts! Best wishes for a healthy, happy year again, to.

Merry Christmas and happy new

Merry Christmas and happy new year everyone!

I'm from Iran that the people

I'm from Iran that the people don't care to christmas.
but very few of them think about this.
I think becaus we are muslim.
But Christianity is God's Religion.
We have to respect.
But many people do not understand.
Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to you, as

Merry Christmas to you, as well.

love and respect for one and

love and respect for one and another disregarding religion is
caring is good ,religious beliefs are a choice for all .
All religions teach and stand for love peace and for the good of all.

You are completely wrong

But Islam states that people must kill non believers あなたダムたわごと.

Mostsfa, if the muslim people

Mostsfa, if the muslim people around the world had your belief there could be peace on earth.

hey !dont say that ! we

hey !dont say that ! we respect it , and i like christmas , happy christmass :).

The resurection of Jesus

The resurection of Jesus Christ, is the hope of the gospel to be taught through out the world. From life to life everlasting.

Thank you for your beautiful

Thank you for your beautiful post. Yes, Jesus is the joy and hope of all our lives. Merry Christmas!

If we dont know the christ's

If we dont know the christ's birth date, why we we celebrate on December 25th?? Just because it will be a snow day??? Lol, everything is fake ... I dont know if ther is anything real.... I think, only christ can prove it or the real one and only God!!!

I agree with you. I've read

I agree with you. I've read the Bible over and over and it never says Jesus said he wants us to remember his birth, but to remember his crusification on a stake. The reason why he died for us. He. requestwd for us to celebrate his death because he died for our sins. Being Adam was a perfect man who sinned and was deemed to die as all of his offspring. Until another perfect man equal to Adams came in our behalf to redeem our sins. The unselfish Only Begotten son of Our Creator, Jesus Christ.

According to the Catholic

According to the Catholic Church, Jesus may not have actually born on December 25 nor is this proclaimed. We celebrate it on this day.  It's a celebration of the Incarnation, not a memorial of a specific day. One reason December 25 may have been thought fitting is its proximity to the winter solstice. After that date the days start to become longer, and thus it is at the beginning of a season of light entering the world (cf. John 1:5).

Well said

Thank you OFA for this commentary. Merry Christmas to all!

Even though it didn't become

Even though it didn't become an official holiday until the 4th century, some Christians were celebrating the nativity on December 25th in the 200s - which is before the Roman holiday of Sol Invictus existed.

They came to the conclusion that he was crucified on March 25 (This is from Tertullian of Carthage, about AD 200). And they believed in a sort of serendipity where great men were thought to be conceived and die on the same day. March 25 is the Annunciation - the day of Jesus' conception. And it is older than Christmas, and nine months before.

Some other church fathers liked to equate John the Baptist's statement, "He [Jesus] must increase and I must decrease," with the light beginning to increase at Jesus' birth and beginning to decrease with John's (which is 6 months before, June 24th).

As for now, few people believe that Jesus was born on December 25. But the natural symbolism of the world's light beginning to increase while "The light shineth in the darkness" and "the true tight was coming into the world"(John chapter 1) is as powerful as ever.

I think the reason that Christmas is such a huge holiday (bigger than Easter) is because of the natural, powerful emotional response people have to this time of year.

The symbolism of the

The symbolism of the Christmas candle varies. For example: It is taken as a symbol of Jesus, the Light of the World. It is also thought to symbolize the star over Bethlehem. In certain countries, such as Ireland and Spain, it was traditional to place candles in the window to guide the Holy Family to shelter.

In medieval Europe, a large candle, called the Christmas candle, was lit and was burned until Twelfth Night; this candle tradition is still used today in certain countries, such as France, Ireland, and Denmark.

Advent wreaths contain four candles, for the four weeks of Advent before Christmas day.

I've always heard of candles

I've always heard of candles symbolizing the comming of Jesus as the Light of the World. However, this mythology parallels many others that talk about the rebirth of the sun. I don't know where they got their info, but I guess that it could be said thata child has to be guided into tje world at birth.

I have never heard of

I have never heard of Christmas candles ever serving as a beacon to guide the Christ-child but rather as a symbol for Christ's coming into the world even as a child. This is a significant theological distinction. Where did you get your information?

I thought the tradition, in

I thought the tradition, in Ireland at least, of a candle in the window to guide the Holy Family was well known. During times of Catholic persecution, the candle also served as a sign to any passing priest that the home was a safe place to say mass. It's not really theology, just a tradition.

Free Almanac Newsletters

Almanac Weekly Companion 

The Almanac.com General Store

Almanac Recipe Box