Although Palestine has a higher population in Muslims, the Palestinians still celebrate Christmas in their state.
One of the reasons why the Palestinian honor this day is because where Jesus Christ was born, is just 10 kilometers from West bank.
Bethlehem is majorly known as Jesus’ birth town but, it is also where wheat grows in bulk. Hence the name house of bread.
What Goes on During Christmas Eve in Palestine
Although the Christians occupy about 20 percent population in Palestine, this does not stop the entire state from commemorating the date that Jesus was born.
A lot of activities are carried out, just like in other countries. On Christmas Eve, the residents parade through the towns where they go round singing and dancing to the Christmas songs.
These songs are led by the bagpipe bands a tradition that was started in 1020 and 1948 by the British.
Also, the people of Palestine spice up by conducting other activities related to this celebration.
Some people dress up as Santa Claus whereby they go round giving out sweets and presents around the towns.
The whole city including the main square features Christmas decorations which range from Christmas trees and lots of ambient.
The Christmas Mass
The Christmas mass is usually held at the church of Nativity, and it is the most valued activity during the Christmas period in Bethlehem.
The ceremony takes place from the afternoon through the evening up to midnight. The time believed that Jesus was born.
The Church of Nativity
This church was built about 500 years ago by the Romans. It holds a special place in all the Palestine hearts because it was built where they believe Jesus was born.
This church is a center of attraction for the tourists who visit Palestine as it is marked with great views. It features a small door referred to as a door of humility.
There is also a holy part referred to as Grotto of the Nativity situated just under the main altar where people worship.
There is a Silver Star decor on the church which marks the area believed to be the birth point of Jesus.
The other significant feature is the Manger square which is built in front of the church
Bethlehem and the Birth of Jesus
The birth of Jesus Christ was prophesied in the bible whereby it was written a Jewish messiah would come from Bethlehem.
Therefore, the Christians do believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and at the church of Nativity.
The Palestine Christmas mass services
The Church of Nativity is led by three different churches which are the Roman Catholic Church, The Greek Orthodox, and the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Christmas mass, as directed by the Roman Catholic Bishop, is attended by multiple congregations including the politicians, the Muslims, the Christians, and also the Jews.
The church service features different activities, including a burnt offering to baby Jesus.
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Main Points About Christmas in the Palestinian Territories
- The Palestinian territories have Bethlehem in it; hence Christmas is very important because it is where Jesus was born.
- There are 3 Christmases in Bethlehem based on the different religious denominations. 25th December for the Catholics, 7th of January for the Greek Orthodox Christians, and 18th of January for the Armenian Apostolic Church.
- On each of the Christmas Eve, there are long processions/parades through town.
- During the festive season, it is very common to find people dressed up as Santa Claus.
- Also common are carols, performances, Nativity Mass on morning, afternoon and midnight.
- Christmas decorations are very popular, especially nativity scenes.
Note that the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostles do not celebrate Christmas Eve on the 25th and 26th of December like the rest of believers.
They hold their celebrations on the 6th and 7th of January. Unlike Israelites, the Palestinian recognize Christmas more, and they hold a glad ceremony during this day.
In the Arabic language, Happy/Merry Christmas is spoken as Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد) which means ‘Glorious Birth Feast’. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
Word Cloud for Christmas in the Palestinian Territories
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in the Palestinian Territories. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.