Orthodox Christmas Eve around the world in 2025

Orthodox Christmas Eve around the world in 2025
  How long until Orthodox Christmas Eve?
Orthodox Christmas Eve
  Dates of Orthodox Christmas Eve around the world
2025 Various Jan 6
Bosnia and HerzegovinaMon, Jan 6Regional Holiday
MontenegroMon, Jan 6National Holiday
2024 Various Jan 6
Bosnia and HerzegovinaSat, Jan 6Regional Holiday
MontenegroSat, Jan 6National Holiday
2023 Various Jan 6
Bosnia and HerzegovinaFri, Jan 6Regional Holiday
MontenegroFri, Jan 6National Holiday
2022 Various Jan 6
Bosnia and HerzegovinaThu, Jan 6Regional Holiday
MontenegroThu, Jan 6National Holiday
2021 Various Jan 6
Bosnia and HerzegovinaWed, Jan 6Regional Holiday
MontenegroWed, Jan 6National Holiday

Celebrated on the day before Orthodox Christmas

  Which countries observe Orthodox Christmas Eve in 2025?
National Holiday Regional Holiday Not a public holiday Govt Holiday

When is Orthodox Christmas Eve?

The Orthodox Church recognises 7th January as the day that Jesus was born, meaning Orthodox Christmas Eve is observed on 6th January. Elsewhere in the world, Christmas Eve is celebrated on 24th December.

The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.

Because it was the catholic pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s.

In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches.

The only Orthodox churches that still observe the 7th January date are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian churches, the Serbs and the Mount Athos monks in Greece.

Traditions of Orthodox Christmas Eve

There are several other different traditions followed by different Orthodox communities around the world. In Georgia and other countries like Romania and Greece, a religious procession called "Alilo" is a major Orthodox Christmas tradition. On Christmas Eve, clergy and people dressed in religious costumes go from door to door, singing Christmas songs, and collecting money and small gifts.

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