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Christmas the Armenian way


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Lebanon hasn’t boxed up its Christmas decorations just yet, as the celebrations are just beginning for some. A large percentage of Lebanon’s prominent Armenian community celebrates their version of the holy day Tuesday, Jan. 6.

The sixth is Epiphany for most Christians, but Armenians use the day to celebrate a culmination of the season’s events.

For them, the sixth is Christmas, celebrating the nativity of Jesus in Bethlehem, but it also symbolizes Epiphany, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. Unlike the Orthodox and Protestants who follow the historic date of Armenian Christmas, the Armenian Catholics, however, follow the Catholic Church in Rome and celebrate on Dec. 25.

The reasons Armenians celebrate on the sixth are historical and traditional. Until the fourth century, the Catholic Church also celebrated Jesus’ birthday Jan. 6. But as Christianity spread into Europe, the day was merged with a Roman pagan holiday celebrated Dec. 25
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