When is Christmas Eve? Differentiating between the night of December 24th and the day of December 25th.

Christmas Eve (or Christmas Vigil) kicks off on the evening of December 24th. On Christmas Eve, people gather together and Santa Claus goes out to distribute gifts.


Christmas or also known as the Feast of the Nativity is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and it is one of the major holidays in December every year. Christmas takes place on December 24th and 25th.

Christmas is significant and important to Christians. On this day, many families decorate Christmas trees, statues, and other decorations. It is also a time for families to gather, eat festive food, and celebrate the holiday spirit.

1 When is Christmas Eve?

When is Christmas Eve?When is Christmas Eve?

Like every year, according to the Gregorian calendar, Christmas Eve will be observed on Friday night (December 24th, 2021) and end on Saturday (December 25th, 2021). According to the Jewish tradition, a new day begins at sunset, so they celebrate Christmas Eve on the evening of December 24th. The day of December 25th is the official Christmas day.

Further reading:  What is Christmas Eve Mass and is it compulsory to attend?

2 The difference between December 24th and December 25th

December 24th – Christmas Eve

December 24th – Christmas EveDecember 24th – Christmas Eve

According to the Roman Catholic Church, December 24th is known as the “vigil” or “eve” of Christmas. During this time, churches and homes are decorated with images and symbols of Christmas, such as Christmas trees, nativity scenes, statues of the Three Wise Men, angels, and more.

December 24th is also the birth of the Christmas tree tradition. In the late 7th century, Saint Boniface was on a pilgrimage when he came across a group of people worshipping an oak tree. He used a fist to knock down the oak tree, saving the baby. From that spot, a small fir tree emerged. Saint Boniface told everyone that this tree symbolized life and represents the eternal life of Christ. Since then, the fir tree has become a symbol of Christmas, representing new life and hope.

December 25th – Christmas Day

December 25th – Christmas DayDecember 25th – Christmas Day

Many people believe that December 25th is the official birthdate of Jesus Christ, but there is no historical evidence to support this. We only know that Jesus was born in a stable on a cold winter night.

From then on, Christians organized celebrations. However, due to the prohibition of the Roman Empire, they secretly chose December 25th to celebrate. This day coincided with the Roman festival “Sol Invictus”.

In 312 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine I abandoned the Roman gods and adopted Christianity. He also abolished the “Sol Invictus” festival. Since then, December 25th became the annual celebration of Jesus’ birthday. In 354 AD, Pope Liberius officially declared December 25th as the Christmas holiday.

3 The meaning of Christmas Eve

The meaning of Christmas EveThe meaning of Christmas Eve

Aside from its religious significance, Christmas Eve is also a special night for families to gather, share a meal, and listen to stories by the Christmas tree.

Christmas Eve is also a magical night for children, where all their wishes come true.

Christmas Day is also a message of peace: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” This is a line sung by angels to herald the arrival of the Savior, and Christmas is a day to share with those who are abandoned, lonely, sick, elderly, and weak.

Further reading: 120+ Best Christmas Quotes to Spread the Joy and Happiness

4 Activities on Christmas Eve, December 24th

Decorating Christmas trees

Decorating Christmas trees at homeDecorating Christmas trees at home

During the Christmas season, the Christmas tree is an essential symbol. It is a joyful and warm activity for the whole family to decorate the Christmas tree together.

Each family decorates the Christmas tree differently, commonly with bells, socks, ornaments, and gift boxes.

Santa Claus giving gifts

Santa Claus giving gifts to childrenSanta Claus giving gifts to children

The image of Santa Claus and gift-giving is an integral part of Christmas. Santa Claus, portrayed by people in costume, carries a big bag of gifts to give to children. This is a beloved activity for children on Christmas Eve.

Organizing Christmas parties

Organizing Christmas parties at homeOrganizing Christmas parties at home

Christmas is a time for families and friends to come together, so it’s common to have a small party. In the cold weather of the end of the year, loved ones sit together and enjoy delicious food, creating a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Giving Christmas cards

Giving Christmas cardsGiving Christmas cards

On Christmas Eve, people often exchange heartfelt greetings and wishes through Christmas cards. Inside the cards, they convey their thoughts and wishes. The designs of the cards are beautiful and diverse, adding more meaning to the gift.

I hope this article helps you understand when is Christmas Eve and the difference between December 24th and December 25th. I wish you and your family a joyful and warm Christmas season.

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