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Orthodox Christmas Day in the United Kingdom

The Nativity of Christ, or Christmas Day, marks the birth of Jesus for Orthodox Christians in the UK. Some Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom (UK) use the revised Julian calendar and others use the old Julian calendar.

Is Orthodox Christmas Day a Public Holiday?

Orthodox Christmas Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Stain glass representation of the virgin Mary and baby Jesus

Orthodox Christians in countries such as the United Kingdom celebrate the Nativity of Christ on Christmas Day.

©iStockphoto.com/RedletterW

What Do People Do?

Many Orthodox Christians in the UK attend special liturgies on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The Christmas Day liturgies may begin at midnight (00:00) between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day or during the morning on Christmas Day. Some people receive Holy Communion at the liturgies. Some Orthodox Christians also hold communal meals or children's parties on Christmas Day.

Orthodox Christians who use the revised Julian calendar celebrate Christmas Day on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Christians who use the older version of the Julian calendar, celebrate this occasion on December 25 in the older calendar, which is January 7 in the Gregorian calendar.

Public Life

December 25 in the Gregorian calendar is a bank holiday, known as Christmas Day, in the UK. January 7 is not a bank holiday in the UK. 

Background

Orthodox Christians celebrate the Nativity of Christ on December 25. However, some Orthodox churches use the revised Julian calendar and others use the older version of the Julian calendar. December 25 in the revised Julian calendar falls on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, but December 25 in the older version of the Julian calendar currently falls on January 7. More information about the older and revised Julian calendars can be found in an article on Orthodox New Year in the UK.

Symbols

Icons showing Mary and Jesus or other images around the birth of Jesus are displayed in Orthodox Christian churches.

About Orthodox Christmas Day in other countries

Read more about Orthodox Christmas Day.

Orthodox Christmas Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010ThuJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2011FriJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2012SatJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2013MonJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2014TueJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2015WedJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2016ThuJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2017SatJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2018SunJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2019MonJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 
2020TueJan 7Orthodox Christmas DayOrthodox 

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