One in 5 Britons don't know that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus

One in five Britons do not know that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus, according to a new study reported by The Independent which shows sketchy knowledge of his life and death.

Instead, almost one in 20 thought Jesus was born at Easter time.


Meanwhile, around one in 10 were unable to name Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus, while another 10 per cent were unaware he was born in a stable.

Yet more than seven in 10 believe that they have a good knowledge of the story of Jesus.

A spokesperson for History, the TV channel that commissioned the research to mark the launch of its new programme Robert Powell on The Real Jesus of Nazareth, which airs tomorrow, said: 'For many of us, Christmas is a festivity we all look forward to celebrating with our loved ones. But over time, it seems people are becoming more and more unaware about the real reason we mark the day and the story of Jesus. Experts are still discovering more about Jesus and his life story and our new documentary explores exactly what happened.'

An ambitious claim, perhaps, but some of us can't even get the basics right: the study of 2,000 adults revealed that one in 20 couldn't name Mary and Joseph as Jesus's parents while around three in 10 had no idea he is believed to have been a carpenter.

Some 16 per cent thought he was jobless.

Other myths abound: One in 20 thought the gifts Jesus was given by the Three Wise Men included a donkey, while another five per cent thought they had a star named after him.

Only eight in 10 knew that a shepherd, star and donkey had starring roles in the story of Jesus' birth, while some others believe the tale involves a Christmas tree, a turkey dinner and even Father Christmas.

Knowledge of Jesus's latter years is also sketchy, with 20 per cent unaware he had 12 disciples.

More than one in 10 struggled to name Judas as the one who betrayed Jesus, with almost one in 100 believing it was actually his mother, Mary.

Only four in 10 knew Maundy Thursday marks the day of Jesus's last supper, while almost a quarter were unaware that Good Friday is when he died on the cross.

Bizarrely, one in 20 believes that Jesus's death is the reason we mark Shrove Tuesday.

The research, carried out by, also revealed just three in 10 gained their knowledge of Jesus from the Bible itself.