How to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land

Christmas in Bethlehem - Jesus BirthplaceTo celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land you must travel to Bethlehem, by the end of December, along with other pilgrims who make this journey for the same purpose i.e. celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ at His place of birth. The Christmas tree was introduced to the Middle East during the latter half of the nineteenth century when the custom of decorating a tree for Christmas was enthusiastically adopted by many of the three million Christians as well as Muslims of the area. Here is some advice on how to make the most of your time in the Holy Land.

A few suggestions

  1. On the days preceding the birth of Jesus, visit the cave that is supposed to have been the last hiding place of Joseph and Mary before they escaped to Egypt.
  2. Visit the grotto where Jesus is supposed to have been born and look at the 14 point star on the floor of His birth place.
  3. Find out about the three different Christmas Eves that are celebrated here. One Christmas Eve is celebrated on the 24th of December for the Protestant and the Catholic churches.
  4. The second Christmas Eve is celebrated for the Greek Orthodox, Coptic (Egyptian) and Syrian churches. The third Christmas Eve is for the Armenian Church. You might find that all three services are going on at the same time, but, in different parts of the church, as well as in different languages.
  5. Prepare a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey stuffed with rice, meat, pine nuts and almonds.
  6. Attend the church service in the morning and open the gifts in the presence of family and friends.


  • Let the atmosphere and the atmosphere of the place affect you positively.
  • Get a souvenir back from the Holy Land as a keepsake.


  • Since Bethlehem is full of people from different places with varied faiths, take care not to hurt anyone’s sensibilities.

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