When I was young I thought everyone celebrated Christmas twice. Little did I know the reason behind it.
“Armenian Christmas” as it is popularly called, is a celebration of Christ’s birth on January 6th, not December 25th.
The exact date of Christ’s birth has not been historically established. However, historically, all Christian churches celebrated Christ’s birth on January 6th until the fourth century.
According to Roman Catholic sources, the date was changed from January 6th to December 25th in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun which was celebrated on December 25th. At the time Christians used to continue their observance of these pagan festivities. In order to subdue this pagan practice, the church hierarchy designated December 25th as the official date of Christmas and January 6th as the feast of Epiphany.
However, Armenia was not effected by this change for the simple fact that there were no such pagan practices in Armenia and the fact that the Armenian Church was not a satellite of the Roman Church. Thus, remaining faithful to the traditions of their forefathers, Armenians have continued to celebrate Christmas on January 6th until today.
So Merry Armenian Christmas to you and your families. Here’s to a happy and wonderful New Year!