World Facts

What Happened On December 25th In...?

We may never know whether Jesus was actually born on December 25th, but we do know many great events in human history in fact did occur on that very date.

For Christian, and even many secular, people all around the world, December 25th is known as Christmas Day. Christians celebrate this date as the day that Jesus was born, although the actual date is unknown. However, other cultures and religions commemorate different celebrations on this day. The Nakh people of North Caucasus, for example, celebrate the Malkh Festival to honor the birth of the sun. In Pakistan, December 25 is the birthday of the country’s founder. In Taiwan, it is Constitution Day and in India, Good Governance Day is celebrated. In addition to being an important day for several different holidays and observances, December 25th is also the anniversary of some significant historic events. This article takes a look at what has happened on this date over the years.

Historic Events Occurring on December 25th

Romans Set the Precedent for a December Christmas

The first recorded celebration of a December 25th Christmas occurred in 336 AD. This first Christmas took place in Rome under the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian to rule Rome. Prior to this date, the January 6th baptism of Jesus was a more important celebration, known as Feast of the Epiphany. Some researchers believe that December 25th was chosen because it falls 9 months after March 25, the date that the virgin Mary learned she was pregnant. Other researchers argue that it was chosen in order to Christianize a pre-existing Pagan holiday, which celebrated the winter solstice and birth of the sun.

England Crowns a Conquering Norman King

In 1066 AD, William the Conqueror was crowned the King of England at Westminster Abbey after successfully leading the Normans' conquest of England. As King, he commissioned the construction of several castles and towers, the most famous of which is the Tower of London. King William also initiated reforms of the English language and the Catholic Church. His reign also created an alliance between England and France that lasted for several centuries.

The Christmas Truce

Perhaps one of the most heartwarming displays of peace and humanity occurred on this day in 1914. During World War I, soldiers from France, Germany, and Great Britain set their weapons aside in order to celebrate Christmas Day. These enemies became allies, crossing into unoccupied territory (No Man’s Land) to share food and souvenirs, sing Christmas songs, and play football. The peace allowed parties from both sides to retrieve their fallen soldiers and perform proper burials as well. This unofficial ceasefire is known as the Christmas Truce.

The End of an Era in Nuclear Weapons Testing

In 1962, the world was in the midst of international negotiations to establish the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, Outer Space, and Underwater. Before the treaty could be formalized, the Soviet Union carried out its final atmospheric nuclear test on Christmas Day of 1962. This test ended series of 78 nuclear tests carried out during the year. The Soviet Union signed the treaty in August of 1963.

Many other historical events have taken place on December 25. For a list of some more of these events, refer to the chart published below.

December 25th in the 21st Century

Marking the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century, Vladimir Putin officially approved a national anthem for the Russian Federation. The former Soviet national anthem influenced its content and provided the music for the new anthem. Before this date, Russia had been the only former Soviet Union republic without an anthem. The lyrics were the result of a government sponsored competition and are said to honor the history and customs of the country.

What Happened On December 25th In...?

Notable Events Occurring on December 25th Through HistoryYear
First known celebration of Christmas on the date of December 25th in Rome.336 AD
Charlemagne crowned as the Holy Roman Emperor.800 AD
Stephen I of Hungary establishes the Kingdom of Hungary as a Christian monarchy.
1000 AD
William the Conqueror of Normandy is crowned as the King of England at Westminster Abbey.1066 AD
George Washington and his men cross the Delaware River the night before engaging the British at Trenton, New Jersey.
1776
An unofficial series of ceasefires on the Western Front see French and British troops celebrate Christmas with their German enemies.1914
The Japanese begin their occupation of Hong Kong following victory over the British there.1941
The Soviet Union carries out its 72nd and final above-ground nuclear bomb test, months before the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty.1962
Deposed Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu is executed alongside his wife for genocide and other charges.1989
Vladimir Putin approves a modified version of the former Soviet national anthem as the national anthem of the Russian Federation.2000

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