Most Christian denominations celebrate Christmas on December 25 to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, according to the Gregorian calendar. however, orthodox Christians celebrate christmas in Jan 7.
The Gregorian calendar was instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, and has been in use since then in the Western world, both as the civil and Christian ecclesiastical calendar.
Today, the Gregorian calendar is accepted as an international standard, although several countries have not adopted to it. As most of Christian faiths in Kenya have.
However, some christians especially from orthodox churches have adopted the Julian calendar and celebrates Christmas on January 7 every year to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, also known as old christmas in other countries.
“Our heartfelt wishes to all those celebrating Orthodox Christmas in Russia and abroad, including Kenya,” the Russian Embassy in Kenya wrote on Saturday, January 7.
Orthodox Christians gathers in different places of worship to present their precious gifts to honour the birth of Jesus.
Today some Kenyan christians are packed in Uhuru Park and other social places to celebrate Christmas on January 7.
Kenyan leaders who subscribe to this faith also celebrates the birth of Jesus by showing compassion through sharing gifts with the less fortunate.
They also decorate their houses with flowers and other ornaments to mark the special occasion.
Pope Gregory XIII, in 1582 decided to standardise Christian holidays by introducing the Gregorian calendar, which replaced the Julian calendar which initially put the birth of Jesus Christ on January 7.
The Orthodox Church split into its own branch of Christianity during the Great Schism of 1054, following years of increasing tensions over religious and political differences.
As a result, Orthodox Christians chose not to adopt Pope Gregory’s new calendar and continued to adhere to the Julian calendar.
Besides the Orthodox church, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6, along with the Epiphany (the revelation that Jesus was God’s son).
The difference in the Christmas celebrations has also been blamed for the escalation of the rift between Russia and Ukraine.