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This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown).

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th.

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs.

The first date listed, December 25, is marked: In about 400 C.

Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death.

According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed.

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations.

The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25.

The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth.

E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation.

Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.

Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] …

And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered.

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