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Christmas in Bethlehem




Friday, December 25, 2009

Greek Orthodox procession in the Church of the Nativity. Photo © Damon Lynch.
As one might imagine, Christmas in Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was [said to have been] born, is a major event. Some of Bethlehem's Christmas celebrations would be familiar to Europeans and North Americans [as] the streets are strung with Christmas lights, there is a Christmas market and Christmas plays are performed.  But other events, which are the most important religiously, are special to Bethlehem and in keeping with the traditions of the Holy Land. These consist of multiple services and processions led by many different Christian denominations, including Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopian, Armenian and more. Most Christmas processions pass through Manger Square, the plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity, which stands on the traditional site of Jesus' birth. Catholic services take place in St. Catherine's Church and Protestants often hold services at the Shepherds' Fields.  Bethlehem Christmas celebrations stretch for a long period, as different denominations celebrate Christmas on different days. Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on December 25; Greek, Syrian and other Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6; and Armenian Christians celebrate Christmas on January 18.  [Source: Sacred-destinations]

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