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2018-01-03 17:35:41 Views : 847 |

News: Why do Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day on January 7 and how does the date differ across the world?

Christmas is still to come for the Eastern Orthodox community, who will be celebrating on January 7. Getty - Contributor

ishtartv.com - thesun.co.uk

By Josie Griffiths, 3rd January 2018



IF YOU'RE gutted that Christmas is over, try not to feel too jealous of these Orthodox Christian countries - who haven't even celebrated yet.

From Russia to Israel, scores of countries celebrate Jesus' birth in January. Here's why...


When do Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas and why?

Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7 - which this year falls on a Sunday.

The celebrations tend to begin at midnight on Christmas Eve, by which we mean January 6.

It's all down to a difference in calendars. In the West we use the Catholic-created Gregorian calendar, which was introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582.

But, in much of the Soviet bloc and Middle East, they still use the Julian calendar - which was created by Julius Caesar in 45 BC.

Germany didn't accept the Gregorian calendar until 1775, and Bulgaria followed suit in 1917.

There's a 13-day gap between the two calendars, meaning Christmas Day falls on what we now know as January 7.

Nowadays, most Orthodox countries follow the Georgian calendar, but still observe religious holidays on the Julian dates.

The Orthodox Epiphany, for example, is on January 19 - instead of the 6th.


Which countries celebrate Christmas on January 7?

Nowadays, more than a third (39 per cent) of  the world's Christians live in Russia - and around 85 per cent of them choose to celebrate Christmas in January.

Some Orthodox countries - including Greece, Cyprus and Romania - adopted a revised Julian calendar in 1923, and now celebrate with us on December 25.

Those that celebrate in January include Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt and Bulgaria.

Serbia, Belarus, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Georgia and Moldova also all stick to the traditional Orthodox date.



It's all because they still follow the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind our Gregorian one. Corbis - Getty

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