Merry Christmas is on January 6th!!!

There is an overwhelming amount of Christmas greetings coming to my email address and office these days, wishing Merry Christmas and best of luck on December 25th – the Christmas day. It is all great and pleasant – to be remembered, and greeted by so many. There is one observation, that I have to make however.
I find it quite reasonable that my international contacts are greeting me on December 25th – and wishing a Merry Christmas, and I’m very happy to be able to return the greetings. However, when Armenian friends and colleagues start greeting on December 25th – I find it somewhat irritating. The thing is – Armenian Christmas is on January 6th. What is wrong with remembering this one single most important date for the Armenian Apostolic church, and instead of bundling up with the rest of the world, wish me Merry Christmas on January 6th?
To give a little more weight to this post and my ‘irritations’, I tried to look up the Christmas date on the Encyclopædia Britannica:

One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer.
A second view suggests that December 25 became the date of Jesus’ birth by a priori reasoning that identified the spring equinox as the date of the creation of the world and the fourth day of creation, when the light was created, as the day of Jesus’ conception (i.e., March 25). December 25, nine months later, then became the date of Jesus’ birth. For a long time the celebration of Jesus’ birth was observed in conjunction with his baptism, celebrated January 6.

The Armenian Apostolic Church generally shares the doctrinal beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox church, except on the Monophysite question, and retains traditional Armenian rites. The dates here often do not correspond with dates of any other church. And that makes the Armenian Church even more special – so let’s respect it, and wish us our very Armenian Merry Christmas on January 6th.
In the meantime, let me use this opportunity and wish Merry Christmas to all readers, for whom Christmas is indeed on December 25th. Merry Christmas to you – dear readers and friends, best of luck, happiness and joy. Merry Christmas!!!

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. […] while he can understand why international contacts and friends are wishing him Merry Xmas, he is irritated that Armenians are doing so as well. While the West celebrates Christmas on 25th December, Armenians will not do so until 6 January. […]

  2. The more the better , x-mass all year long .

  3. Actually Onnik, January 6th is Christmas Eve per the old calendar used by orthodox christians and the like. Per the old calendar, Christ was born on January 7th and, thus, January 6th is Christmas Eve. Merry early X-mas, don’t be such a scrooge!!!

  4. Onnik, Armenians are forgetting their own language and Christmas to most of us abroad is nothing more than a reason to give and receive gifts. That’s the cold hard truth!
    Oh, and Marry Christmas! 😉

  5. Eek, I mean MERRY!

  6. Er, why is everyone addressing comments to me? I didn’t write it and nor did I comment until now. Regardless, Merry Xmas whenever you celebrate it and even though I’m an atheist. 😉

  7. […] those of you that celebrate Christmas on 25 December, seasons greetings. Although Armenians won’t celebrate Christmas until 6 January, there was nonetheless some seasonal cheer in the capital last night as a few of us bloggers met up […]

  8. Yeah – I was also trying to figure out why is everyone talking to Onnik about the Xmas date confusion? Whatever!!! :))

  9. I have to admit that I sent one message to everyone on my contact list, not differentiating between Armenians and others. That’s why you got a message from me. But you will get one on Jan 6 as well 🙂 In any case, I am an atheist and New Year is still a much bigger deal to me than Christmas on both Dec 25 and Jan 6.

  10. Vahagn jan – Merry Christmas to you as well, and better yet – Happy New Year! :)))

  11. Maybe the Armenian Apostolic Church needs to revise the Christmas day and change it to December 25. After all, we used to be Catholics in the not so distant past (1,500+ years ago).

  12. I am Orthodox Syrian Christian of Kerala, India, and our Church has celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on the 6th of January. Merry Christmas.

  13. Hi just wandering where you have your sources from about the “A second view suggests..”?

  14. january 6th is my b day

  15. How do u say “merry christmas” in armenian?

  16. Please answer me this question:
    Can i still say “Merry Christmas” to my friends on dec 27,28
    Many thanks

  17. I would suggest to u Onnik that u go and sit with the best thelogians of the Catholic & Orthodox & Protestant for the whole years left in u so that u convince them and then they will convince aas and everthing will go as u wish, then we will be one again in the same unity Our lord Jesus Christ “THE MESSIAH” wished and Merry X-mass for u and all the Armenians Coz we go according to Jesus’ 2nd commandament i.e Love your Neighbour as yourself. 10q again

  18. If I remember the reason is in the 15th centry the pope changed the date of Christmas to the pagan celabration december 25th and the RCC has in so many cases just like all soles day falls on the day after hollween it alsow is a pagin holiday if you seek out and look all along history dates of history the RCC has placed a feast day to over power the pagain celabrations.

  19. Oh, these negative things and thoughts!
    Personally, I celebrate Christmas four times: 25. dec , 7.jan (25.dec in Julian calendar), 6. jan (the original celebration day), and 19.jan (the original day in Julian).
    I honor every Christian church! Maybe I’m wrong?

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