ORTHODOX Christians celebrate Christmas on a different day compared to other Christians, but when is the celebration of Christ’s birthday in Orthodox countries?
While many Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25, there are some Orthodox Christians who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in January. Orthodox Christians in central and eastern Europe celebrate Christmas on January 7. Celebrations begin on Christmas Eve, which is January 6 in Orthodox countries.
The Catholic-created Gregorian calendar is used by most of the west, such as Spain, Portugal, France, Poland, Italy and Luxembourg, which observes Christmas on December 25.
However Orthodox countries, such as Russia, Eastern European countries and the Middle East, observe the Julian calendar, which pre-dates the Gregorian calendar, for a number of religious holidays and therefore Christmas is celebrated on January 7.
The Orthodox Epiphany is celebrated on January 19, instead of January 6, another date which follows the Julian calendar.
The Julian calendar was introduced under the Roman emperor Julius Caesar in 45BC, before the Gregorian was brought in by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
Countries which celebrate Christmas in January include Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt, Serbia, Belarus, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia and Moldova.
The ancient Christian feast day marks the visit of baby Jesus from the three kings (three Wise Men).
Christmas Day in Orthodox countries is a day for feasting and enjoying the company of friends and family members.