Official Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities in the Holy Land

The Star of Bethlehem - Jesus' birthplace

The Star of Bethlehem

Christmas is just about here! Well, as here as it will ever get in the Holy Land. We’ve mentioned before what it’s like here in Israel during the Christmas season and things don’t really ever change for those of us who love a bit of tinsel, but there are still many who come to visit Israel during Christmas and who, of course, have an amazing time.

This year it’s pretty much the usual; the list below will give you a quick summary of what you can do over the next couple of days.

Yesterday (Thursday 23rd) saw the traditional Christmas reception in Nazareth, with religious leaders from the north meeting up to play Secret Santa. Or something like that. But you missed it (or did you?) so what the heck!

Today (Christmas Eve) you’ll be pleased to know that the Tourism Ministry has arranged free shuttles between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The shuttles (minibuses) will leave every hour on the hour from the Mar Elias Monastery to the Church of the Nativity and return on the half hour, from Friday, 24.12.10 at noon to Saturday 25.12.10 at noon.

Meanwhile, over in Nazareth today you can stop by at 3pm for the traditional street parade through the city’s main street, Paul XI. At 5pm listen out for the fireworks, then at 7:30 head over to the Church of the Annunciation for Christmas Mass.

Christmas Day in Israel this year is also a Shabbat, so expect an extra special day of peace and goodwill to all men. Maybe. All Catholic churches in Israel will have a Christmas Mass on this special day. The first Mass in the Church of the Annunciation will take place at 07:00. A festive Mass will take place at 10:00.

If you’re looking for a good old Christmas knees-up later tonight, you might find one happening at some of these great pubs. Other hostels and hotels will also have their own Christmas shindig, so check out your local inn…

Merry Christmas!



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