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Origins of Christmas <ul><li>Although no one knows on which exact date Jesus was born, Christians have favored December 25 since ancient times. It is the date on which the Romans marked the winter solstice and it is nine months following the Festival of Annunciation (March 25). In ancient and early Medieval times, Christmas was either a minor feast, or not celebrated at all. </li></ul>
Other Dates? <ul><li>Although Christmas may be celebrated on December 25 -31 in historically Catholic and Protestant nations, in eastern Europe it is often celebrated on January 7 . This is because the Orthodox church continues to use the Julian calendar for determining feast days.  </li></ul><ul><li>The Orthodox churches fast during the forty days before Christmas. Christmas is dubbed the "Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ." Armenian Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6 .  </li></ul>
Other Customs <ul><li>Many Christmas practices originate in Germanic countries, including the Christmas tree , the Christmas ham , the Yule log , holly , mistletoe , and the giving of presents . The prominence of Christmas in Germanic nations may be a form of carryover from the pagan midwinter holiday of Yule . </li></ul><ul><li>Russia banned Christmas celebration from 1917 until 1992. Several Christian denominations, notably the Jehovah's Witnesses , Puritans , and some fundamentalists , view Christmas as a pagan holiday not sanctioned by the Bible . </li></ul>
Other Customs <ul><li>In the southern hemisphere , Christmas is during the summer. This clashes with the traditional winter iconography, resulting in oddities such as a red fur-coated Santa Claus surfing in for a turkey barbecue on Australia 's Bondi Beach . Japan has adopted Santa Claus for its secular Christmas celebration, but New Year's Day is a far more important holiday. In India, Christmas is often called bada din ("the big day"), and celebration revolves around Santa Claus and shopping. In South Korea , Christmas is celebrated as an official holiday. </li></ul>