Top 10 Historical Events Of December 25th

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December 25th is almost universally celebrated as Christmas, the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of their savior Jesus Christ. However, Christ’s birth is not the only important event to fall on December 25th. Many momentous things have happened on December 25th throughout the ages. Here are 10 of the most significant historical events to take place on December 25th (in chronological order):

10. First Christmas (336 AD)

First recorded celebration of Christmas on December 25th

first-christmas-celebration

The first recorded celebration of Christmas was marked in a list of Roman bishops that was compiled in 354 AD. For the date 336 AD, it was written: 25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae, which translates to December 25th Christ Born in Bethlehem, Judea. Nobody is sure which day Jesus was actually born. It is proposed that the date December 25th was chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus¹ birth because the date was already used by many cultures and pagan religions as a holiday to hold feasts and celebrate the winter solstice.

9. Coronation of Charlemagne (800 AD)

Charlemagne becomes Holy Roman Emperor

historical events of December 25 charlemagne

Charlemagne was one of the most illustrious and celebrated rulers of the Middle Ages. Originally the King of the Franks, a West Germanic confederation of tribes, he expanded his empire throughout Western and Central Europe, conquering Italy and the Saxons. He is considered to be the founder of the French and German monarchies. Remarkably, Charlemagne united most of Western Europe for the first time since the domination of the Roman Empire. His conquest of Italy was completed in 800 AD when Pope Leo III crowned him Imperator Augustus, or Holy Roman Emperor. Charlemagne would serve as the first Holy Roman Emperor of the Carolingian dynasty from 800-814 AD, during which time he helped spark the Carolingian Renaissance.

8. Kingdom of Hungary Formed (1000 AD)

Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom

historical events of December 25 St-Stephen-of-Hungary

The Kingdom of Hungary was formed from the old Principality of Hungary with the coronation of Stephen I by Pope Sylvester II as the king of Hungary. This legitimized Hungary as a Western kingdom that was separate from the Holy Roman and Byzantine empires. This led to a massive reconstruction of Hungarian society. Catholicism gained incredible strength throughout the land. The runic-like script used to write Hungarian was replaced with the Latin alphabet during this time. This also led to a restructuring of Hungary¹s kingdom administration along the Frankish Empire model.

7. William the Conqueror Crowned (1066 AD)

William the Conqueror becomes King of England

historical events of December 25 william-the-conqueror becomes king

One of the most significant and important events in European history, the coronation of William the Conqueror as the first Norman King of England was the pivotal moment of the Norman Conquest of England. It began with William’s invasion of England and his decisive victory over King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings. The transfer of rule over England to the Norman’s led to several defining moments of English history. The native ruling class was removed and replaced with a French-speaking monarchy, aristocracy, and clergy. The Norman Conquest of England also led to the Norman conquests of Wales and Ireland. Many also see this as the birth of the legendary rivalry between Great Britain and France.

6. Sir Isaac Newton’s Birth (1642 AD)

historical events of December 25 sir-isaac-newton born

Jesus Christ is not the only person to have a birthday on December 25th. On that date, the science world celebrates the birth of Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most important and influential scientists who ever lived. One of his most famous accomplishments was the publishing of the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, one of the most important works on the body of math known as physics. He defined three laws of motion now referred to as Newton’s laws. In addition to inventing calculus (but not publishing it until after Leibniz published his own foundation of calculus) he also invented a new scientific method which redefined scientific reasoning. Newton single-handedly propelled mankind into a new age of science, math, and reasoning.

5. Halley’s Comet Confirmed (1758 AD)

First confirmation of Halley’s Comet

historical events of December 25 halleys-comet

Although Halley’s Comet, a short-period comet that becomes visible on earth every 75 to 76 years, had been observed and recorded periodically by astronomers since at least 240 BC, it was not until 1705 that scientist Edmond Halley proposed that it was the same object. He predicted that it would return in 1758. That year, it was first spotted on December 25th by Johann Georg Palitzsh. Halley’s Comet has gone on to be one of the most important visible objects in our general vicinity of space.

4. Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware (1776 AD)

George Washington crosses the Delaware River

historical events of December 25 crossing-the-delaware

It was the moment that turned the American War for Independence from the Colonial British to the American revolutionaries. On December 25th, 1776, George Washington led a column of the Continental Army across the frozen Delaware River in order to carry out a surprise attack against the Hessian mercenary forces in Trenton, New Jersey. The attack was an overwhelming success for the American forces, only suffering nine casualties while capturing 1,000 prisoners. The battle was also a major morale victory for the beleaguered American forces who had been systematically defeated by the British at almost every engagement.

3. First Game of Ice Hockey (1855 AD)

First reputed game of ice hockey

first-hockey-game

While the first organized indoor game of ice hockey took place on March 3, 1875 in Montreal, Canada it is believed that the first time that the game was actually played was on Christmas Day 1855. The story goes that soldiers of the Royal Canadian Rifles at the Tête du Pont barracks were clearing ice from Lake Ontario when they began to play a game using field hockey sticks and lacrosse balls. This improvised game would then go on to evolve into one of the world’s most internationally beloved sports: ice hockey.

2. Christmas Truce (1914 AD)

christmas-truce

The story of the Christmas Truce is one of the most heart-touching events to take place during the horrors of World War One. On Christmas Day, 1914, a series of unofficial truces took place all along the Western Front. It is estimated that around 100,000 British and German troops were involved in these impromptu truces. The soldiers sang carols and met in the middle of No Man’s Land to exchange gifts. Joint Christmas services were also held for the involved troops. While there were other, smaller truces that took place during the rest of the war, there would not be another that was on such a wide scale as the Christmas Truce. The event has been glorified as a symbol of goodwill and peace, even amongst the horrors of war. The Christmas truce has been glorified in numerous books, films, and songs.

1. Gorbachev’s Resignation (1991 AD)

Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of Soviet Union, Ukraine
leave Soviet Union

historical events of December 25 Mikhail-Gorbachev

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Two earth-shattering events took place on December 25, 1991. First, Mikhail Gorbachev, the president of the Soviet Union, resigned his official post. His resignation followed an August coup led by members of the USSR’s government that tried to forcibly remove him from power. One day after Gorbachev’s resignation, the Soviet Union, one of the 20th century’s greatest superpowers, was officially dissolved. The second important event to occur on December 25, 1991 was a Ukrainian referendum that removed them from the Soviet Union. These two events were instrumental in the collapse of the Soviet Union, forever shifting the balance of power in world politics.


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14 Comments

        • The Christmas celebration for many Germans actually begins with the start of advent. From my own personal experience with two German parents, we would start lighting candles on the first day of advent and then Christmas Eve was the ‘big day’. I grew up in Canada but I remember meeting other German kids who also did not open their gifts on Christmas morning. Found online:”This magical event, for many families, takes place on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, before attending mass at 4pm, returning home at 6pm to eat, read the Christmas story and then open their presents.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/christmas/german/ Our Christmas Eve usually ended with a family party: champagne punch, snacks, and music. On really good years my mom would kick up her heels and dance 🙂 Not much happened on Christmas day or afterwards, it was just family time at home- playing with new toys and eating the goodies we found in our Christmas plates the night before (cookies, some candy, and an orange) rather than Christmas stockings on the 25th.

  1. Jesus’ birth being on December 25th, is an unfortunately popular misconception. Although we aren’t exactly sure when Jesus was really born, many have theorized through much analysis and surprisingly quite obvious clues, that Jesus was most likely born in April, somewhere between April 19-20.
    For instance, the biblical reference to shepherds attending their flocks at night when they hear of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:8) suggest that it may have been a spring lambing season. Many clues like this one add up to Jesus being born in April rather than in cold, harsh December. So, what exactly does Christmas have to do with Christ, and is it really celebrating his birth (or is Easter)? Nothing really, and no.

    • How do you know he was ever born at all? It could be a fictional book that got a following and became a religion or a prank/joke that got out of hand. “Evidence” could easily be bias.

      • Good question! But how do you know he wasn’t? It could be true, but your theories are just as presumed as mine, if not more so. No, biased people are biased, evidence itself is not a biased object. Another question: how do you know love exists? Prove love to me. Prove the big bang to me (and even if you do, prove where the atom came from that started the big bang). What about the concept of cold? Essentially, there is no such thing as cold, just the absence of heat. So how about black? There is no such thing as black, just the absence of color and white. So does this mean black and cold don’t exist, and neither does love?

        • But a lack of light and heat are easily provable and detectable, black and cold are just words used to describe a concept. “Love” is an attraction to someone. This attraction is caused by hormones in order for the human race to reproduce and survive. It is the same with almost every species that reproduces sexually except in humans it has a different name and has been made more “civilised”. That is what “Love” is.

        • My point in using light and heat as examples, aren’t to talk about whether they’re existent or not. I’m implying that just like colors, light, and cold are all concepts, God is just as much of a concept. So you’re saying every man and woman in love with one another has reproduced already, or at least had sexual intercourse? No. In fact, love, is very non-essential to reproduction, and based on numbers, “love” more than anything hinders reproduction due to committment. How do you know love exists in every species? How do you know our love is most “civilized”? These are unprovable assertions you’ve made.

        • Love’s primary use is to ensure the continuation of humanity as a species. As humans are more intelligent than animals and realise the negatives of having a child they don’t try to have one (humans have both the knowledge of the body and the technology to do this). As I’ve said “love” (although we don’t call it that because that would make us like animals) is only observed in species that reproduce sexually otherwise it is not needed. If they were examples, I don’t think they weren’t very good ones (sorry, about being brutally honest). They are all observable and can be detected using certain devices or senses. The existence of god has no proof and is not logical. Religion is what was in the place of science in the old days to explain the not yet explained. Now it has no purpose whatsoever. If you are to assume anything that hasn’t been disproved is fact then you could say that the universe is full of giant, weightless, invisible, floating bears which can be passed through and don’t react to any type of energy, you know from common sense that it can’t exist but it cannot be disproven.

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