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December 18, 2013December 18, 2013  0 comments  Geography

 

10 Top Things to Do during Christmas Time Around Bethlehem

 

Spending Christmas in Bethlehem and not sure what to do?  

To help you plan your visit Travelujah has prepared a top 10 list of activities for Christmas in of Bethlehem to. And if you might only be coming next year - hold onto this list!

1. Visit the holy sites and walk the ancient trails

Begin on Star Street and walk to the Nativity Grotto and Basilica of the Nativity built over it just as Mary and Joseph did. It is believed that this was the way the holy family entered Bethlehem after the decree issued by the Cesar Augustus. Today during this 15 minutes stroll, a person can also admire the ancient architecture of the Bethlehem's Old City.

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

After visiting Shepherd's Fields, the area where the Angel Gabriel would announce Christ's birth to the shepherds, walk as the pastors walked up towards Bethlehem lead by the brightly shining star. Shepherd's Fields are located in the town of Beit Sahour, 2 km away from the Nativity Church.

2. Enjoy three Christmas Eves in Bethlehem

Besides the fact that Christmas spirit could be felt in Bethlehem throughout the whole year, you might wonder why this holiday is celebrated here more than once.

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

Bethlehem is a town where live various Christian denominations, and those follow different liturgical calendars. Catholics and Lutherans observe the Christmas Day on the 25th of December, Orthodox and Oriental Christians celebrate it on 7th of January, and Armenian Christians on 19th of January. It is impossible to merge those festivities and agree on one common date as the building of the Church of the Nativity would not be capable to host all the faithful at once.

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

On each Christmas Eve, a day preceding each of the Christmas Days of each rite (24th of Dec., 6th of Jan., 18th of Jan.), solemn parades welcome Patriarchs representing each denomination. Attending a Christmas Eve Mass in the Nativity Church would be also a special spiritual experience.

3. Attend Lightning of a Christmas Tree in Beit Sahour

This year 2013, the solemn lightning of the Christmas tree in Beit Sahour, town located just 2 km from Bethlehem, is scheduled for the 19th of December at 5 pm. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, fireworks and concerts of the local musicians in the ‘town of the shepherds'.

4. Participate in a Candle Procession

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

On the 25th of December 2013 at 2 pm there is scheduled a religious pilgrimage from the St. Catherine's Church in Bethlehem to the Orthodox and then to Latin Shepherd's Fields in Beit Sahour. Later on that day, as a part of annual Shepherd's Nights Festival Beit Sahour organizes a candle procession from the Orthodox Shepherd's Fields to the area called Souk el-Shab in the middle of the town. Join the locals and have a nice time.

5. Celebrate Christmas or New Year party with the locals

Many hotels in Bethlehem organize parties with singers during the Christmas season. Joining a party could be also a way of enjoying that special time with your family. Have a look at the following program. For reservation call:

24/12 (Tuesday) - Christmas Eve:

  • The Golden Park - Beit Sahour (02 - 277 4414) - 9 pm - Bishara Sakhnini
  • Shepherd's Hotel - Bethlehem (02 - 274 0656) - 9 pm - Eyad Tannous
  • Intercontinental Bethlehem (02 - 276 6777) - 7 pm - Special Christmas Eve Dinner; 10 pm - Christmas Eve Party

25/12 (Wednesday) - Christmas Day:

  • Paradise Hotel (02 - 274 4542/3) - 9 pm - Bishara Sakhnini
  • The Golden Park - Beit Sahour (02 - 277 4414) - 9 pm - Jihad Aalboni
  • Grand Hotel (02 - 274 1602) - 9 pm - Bassam Bishara
  • Shepherd's Hotel - Bethlehem (02 - 274 0656) - 9 pm - Rimon Khoury
  • Grand Park Hotel (02 - 277 4414) - 9 pm - Haitham Al-Shomali
  • Intercontinental Bethlehem (02 - 276 6777) - 12 - 3 pm - Christmas Day Lunch; 9 pm - Christmas Party

31/12 (Tuesday) - New Year's Eve:

  • Paradise Hotel (02 - 274 4542/3) - 9 pm - Zahi Gharib
  • Ararat Hotel (02 - 276 6880) - 9 pm - Hani Mitwasi
  • The Golden Park - Beit Sahour (02 - 277 4414) - 9 pm - Hasanein Al-Masri
  • Shepherd's Hotel - Bethlehem (02 - 274 0656) - 9 pm - Violet Salameh
  • Intercontinental Bethlehem (02 - 276 6777) - 9 pm - New Year's Eve Party

6. See a Christmas concert

There are many musical performances during the Christmas season 2013. Local and international artists will perform every day during the evening hours on the Christmas Festival (19 - 30 Dec.) in Bethlehem on stage on Manger Square and on Shepherd's Nights Festival (23 - 25 Dec.) with a stage in front of the Beit Sahour Municipality. The exact schedule of the shows can be found: here (http://vicbethlehem.wordpress.com/christmas-2013/)

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

7. Join St. Nicholas' Feast in Beit Jala

Beit Jala is located just 2 km west from Bethlehem. It is believed that the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, located in the old core of Beit Jala, was built over a grotto which was once inhabited by St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) who came to the Holy Land from Capadocia in the 4th century as a hermit. Every year, on the 18th and 19th of December, the local community of the town celebrates the Feast of St. Nicholas. On 18th of December, you can  attend a vespers service at 3 pm in the St. Nicholas Church. On 19th of December, which is also the name day of the saint, the church service starts at 7:30 am, followed by a joyous scout procession around noon. Musical and folklore concerts are planned as the afternoon and evening activities.

8. Join St. Sabas Feast

Mar Saba is a Greek Orthodox monastery located 15 km east from Bethlehem. The cloister, founded by St. Saba of Capadocia in 439, overlooks the Kidron Valley and dry landscapes of Jerusalem's wilderness. One of monastery's tradition is the restriction on women enteringthe main compound. They can however visit the Women's Tower, near the main entrance.

Mar Saba Monastery Travelujah

The Feast of St. Saba is held from the afternoon of 17th of Dec. until the morning of the 18th of Dec., with all night service lead by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. An adjacent church tower holds a mass for female pilgrims as well. The opposite wall of the valley will be beautifully decorated with candle lights emerging from the caves. Monks share with the pilgrims home made bread and sweet wine.

9. Visit St. Theodosius Monastery

St. Theodosius Monastery is situated around 9 km east from Bethlehem. A tradition states that the saint, after whom the church is named, was led by God to seek out the cave where the Wise Men spent a night on their way back to the east after paying a homage to Christ in Bethlehem. In 476, St. Theodosus founded a monastery on that site.

St Theodosius Monastery Travelujah

On 24th of January, the monks and nuns of the cloister celebrate its feast day with a morning liturgy, which is followed by the opening of the Magi's cave.

10. Send Christmas Greetings from Bethlehem

Christmas, the celebration of Jesus' birth, is a very special time of the year. Send warm Christmas wishes from Bethlehem to your family and friends. Share with them your experience from the Holy City and invite them to spend this beautiful holiday together in ‘the Capital of Christmas' next year. Average postcard costs around 5 NIS and a post stamp is around 3-4 NIS.

Do you have a question?

If you have any questions regarding your Christmas visit in Bethlehem? Check another Travelujah article: 'Everything you need to know about Christmas in Bethlehem (but were afraid to ask)' or contact Travelujah directly on info@travelujah.com

Christmas Eve Tour

If you would like to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem on the Christmas Eve with a guided tour, join this special Christmas Eve Tour offered by Travelujah. There are scheduled pickups from Herzliya, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

***

Beata Andonia blogs regularly for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading faith-based social network in the Holy Land. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.

 


December 10, 2012December 10, 2012  0 comments  Religious ceremonies

Is there any better place in the world to visit during Christmas, than in the town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was actually born?

 

 "And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David." (Luke 2:3-4)

 

Travelujah recommends that Christians to follow in the path of Joseph and to make a similar pilgrimage this year to Bethlehem, the town that many believe is the birthplace of Jesus. To ensure an exciting and festive Christmas season in Bethlehem, a number of religious and cultural celebrations have been planned for Christmas 2012.

 

Enjoy strolling beautifully decorated streets of Bethlehem, where the Christmas ornaments and lights, put all around the town, create a special atmosphere of celebration and joy. When reaching the Manger Square, the first thing to notice will be this year’s Christmas tree - bigger and more splendid than ever.

 

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah

 

However, this amazing tree will be just a Christmas decoration underlining the importance of the place you would be in. Only few steps behind it is the entrance to the Basilica of the Nativity, the church built over the grotto where Jesus, Prince of Peace, was born.

 

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11)

 

Christmas Events:

 

On the 15th of December, see the solemn Lightning of the Christmas Tree. Firstly, everybody is invited to join common prayer in the St. Catherine’s Church of the Nativity Church at 4:30 pm. Right after the mass, at 5:30 pm, Christmas concerts will begin to please our ears and the tree will be ceremonially lightened.

 

2nd Nativity Festival on the Manger Square will be a great musical entertainment starting every day from 16th till 23rd of December around  5 pm.

 

19th of December will mark the Day of St. Nicholas. Did you know that Santa Claus lived for four years in a cave in Beit Jala, a town next to Bethlehem, to exclude himself close to the place where the Christ was born? Church of St. Nicholas in Beit Jala will host a solemn mass at 7:30 am. Scouts parade will march the town around noon. Musical event featuring very talented local singers will start at 6 pm.

 

‘Taste the Nativity Land’ festival prepared by the John Paul II Foundation will be a great occasion to taste local products of Bethlehem like wine, olive oil and traditional bread. This all could be enjoyed from 20th till 22nd of December, in a beautiful Christmas setting and live carols performances. The first day, will as well feature a great children’s parade, which will start from the Manger Square at 1:30 pm and march through the streets of Bethlehem to reach the grounds of the JP II Foundation.

 

Beit Sahour, the town famous for the Shepherd’s Fields, has its own Christmas tree, which will be solemnly lighted on the 20th of December. At 5 pm, a beautiful “Procession for Peace” will walk from town’s center (souq es-shab) to reach the place of the three lightning in front of Beit Sahour’s municipality building. Musical concerts and fireworks are expected.

 

24th of December marks the Christmas Eve. On that day, scouts of Bethlehem are going to welcome the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal. The Patriarch is expected to arrive around 1 pm to the area of the Rachel’s Tomb and reach the Manger Square around 2:30 pm.

 

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah 

 

24th of December is as well the day of the Midnight Mass celebrated in the St. Catherine’s Church. The event requires previously obtained tickets. The door of the church will be open from 9 pm. Check more info: here.

 

For all those who would like to enjoy common caroling, a special event prepared by a group “Brass for Peace” will take place in the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem at 7:30 pm on the 24th of December.

 

Join the Shepherd’s Nights celebrations on the 25th of December in Beit Sahour. Candle procession at 4 pm, from the Orthodox Shepherd’s Fields to the center of Beit Sahour, will symbolize the way of the Shepherds lead by the star. Musical concerts will follow.

 

On the 29th of December at 6 pm enjoy “Bethlehem Christmas Festival” - 80 Voice Festival Choir concert in on the stage of Dar Annadwa, located next to the Christmas Lutheran Church.

 

Mark Your Calendar

 

 

  • 15/12 – Lightning of the Christmas Tree in Bethlehem

  • 16-23/12 – 2nd Nativity Festival
  • 19/12 – St. Nicholas Celebrations in Beit Jala
  • 20-22/12 – “Taste the Nativity Land” Festival in JP II Foundation
  • 20/12 – Lightning of the Christmas Tree in Beit Sahour
  • 24/12 – Welcoming of the Latin Patriarch on the Manger Square; Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in the St. Catherine Church; “Brass for Peace” in the Christmas Lutheran Church
  • 25/12 – Shepherd’s Nights in Beit Sahour
  • 29/12 - “Bethlehem Christmas Festival” 

 

Traveling to Bethlehem

 

You can easily reach Bethlehem from Jerusalem by taking bus #21 from the bus station next to the Damascus Gate of Old Jerusalem. The way will take around 30 minutes and will take you through Beit Jala to the area called Bab el-Zkak in Bethlehem. To reach the Manger Square from there, walk Pope Paul VI street for 15 minutes.

 

Travelujah.com invites you to join one of the many Bethlehem day tours and visit the city on a group tour bus with a licensed tour guide. Several Bethlehem day tours are available including:

 

1.             Bethlehem-Jericho Day Tour - $125 per person from Jerusalem

2.             Bethlehem and Jerusalem One Day Tour-$99 per person from Jerusalem

3.             Bethlehem Christmas Eve 2012 Tour - $115 per person from Jerusalem

 

Christmas in Bethlehem Travelujah 

 

The full schedule of 2012-2013 Christmas-related services and mass times in Bethlehem is found below:

DECEMBER 15 – 23:
16.30 Novena of Christmas in St Catherine.

DECEMBER 24 (Monday):
13.00 at the Tomb of Rachel: His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal, is welcomed by, Latin Parish Priest of Bethlehem and representatives of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.
14.30 at the Manger Square: Solemn Entry of His Beatitude into the Basilica of the Nativity and St. Catherine Church followed by Pontifical Vespers.
16.00 at St. Catherine: Daily Procession to the Nativity Grotto.
21.00 at St. Catherine: The Church opens (Tickets required).
23.15 at St. Catherine: SOLEMN "OFFICE OF READINGS".

DECEMBER 25 (Tuesday):
00.00 at St. Catherine: PONTIFICAL EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION (Tickets required).
00.00 at the Manger Grotto: Low Masses till 1.30 in Arabic (Tickets required);
1.30 at St. Catherine: Solemn traditional Procession to the Grotto until 2.30.
2.30 at the Manger Grotto: Low Masses till 5.15 (no tickets required), Interruption from 5.30 to 7.00 approximately.
7.30 at St. Catherine: PARISH MASS IN ARABIC.
10.00 at St. Catherine: PONTIFICAL CHRISTMAS MASS IN ARABIC AND LATIN.
14.00: Pilgrimage to the Greek and then to the Latin Shepherd’s Field.

DECEMBER 26 (Wednesday) – Feast of St. Stephen:
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian), 7.00 (Arabic).
12.00: Daily procession to the Grotto of the Nativity.

DECEMBER 27 (Thursday) – Feast of St. John Evangelist:
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian) and 7.00 (Arabic).
12.00: Daily Procession to the Grotto.
16.45: Veneration of the Rock of Manger Grotto

DECEMBER 28 (Friday) – Feast of the Holy Innocents:
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian), 7.00 (Arabic).
10.00: Sung Mass (Latin) in the Grotto of the Holy Innocents.
12.00: Daily Procession to the Grotto.
14.00: Vespers in the Grotto of the Holy Innocents.

DECEMBER 29 (Saturday):
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian), 7.00 (Arabic).
12.00: Daily Procession to the Grotto.
15.00:
Shepherd’s Field, Solemn Mass at in commemoration of the Shepherds.

DECEMBER 30 (Sunday):
In the
Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and at 8.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian), 7.30; 9.00; 11.00; 16.30 (Arabic).

DECEMBER 31 (Monday) – New Year’s Eve:
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 (Italian), 7.00 (Arabic).
14.00 Solemn Vespers with Procession to the Grotto

16.30 Holy Mass of Thanksgiving (Arabic) with TE DEUM.

2013

JANUARY 1 (Tuesday):
In the
Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 am and 7.30.
At St. Catherine: Holy Masses at 6.30 am (Italian), 7.30 am (Arabic).
Solemn Mass at 10.30 (Arabic) followed by Procession to the Milk Grotto with the Icon of Virgin Mary.

JANUARY 5 (Saturday) – Eve of
Epiphany:
In the Manger Grotto: Holy Masses at 5.00 and 7.30.
11.00 at the
Tomb of Rachel: His Paternity the Custos of the Holy Land is welcomed by Latin Parish Priest and other representatives of Bethlehem.
11.30 at the Manger Square: Solemn Entry of his Paternity the Custos of the Holy Land into the
Basilica of the Nativity and St. Catherine Church.
13.45 at St. Catherine: Pontifical Vespers and Procession to the Grotto

15.30 at St. Catherine: Office of Readings and Procession to the Grotto
JANUARY 6 (Sunday) –
Epiphany:
Midnight at the Grotto: Holy Masses till 9.00 with an interruption from 1.00 to 2.30 approximately.
7.30 at St. Catherine: Holy Mass.
10.00 at St. Catherine: PONTIFICAL MASS (Latin and Arabic).
15.30 at St. Catherine:  Solemn Vespers and Solemn Traditional procession to the Grotto: Veneration of the Infant Jesus with the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

 

* * * * * 

By Beata Andonia  and Elisa Moed for Travelujah. Beata Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.

 

 

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December 13, 2013December 13, 2013  0 comments  Religious ceremonies

Christmas season and the celebration of Christ’s birth is the special time when the attention of the whole world suddenly turns towards the place where He was born – Bethlehem. Millions of people dream of joining the annual commemoration of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, yet few still make this important pilgrimage. For those that do choose to realize their dream of Christmas in Bethlehem they will undoubtedly enjoy a very special Christmas experience.

Come Home to Bethlehem

Christmas in Bethlehem 2013 Travelujah

“Come Home for Christmas” is this year’s marketing slogan. Bethlehem’s mayor, Vera Baboun explains “Bethlehem is home for every faithful in the message of peace”. She also compares Bethlehem to “Home” because of “its people, its safety, fraternity and its warmth …”

On December 1 2013, Custodian of the Holy Land Pierbattista Pizzaballa came to Bethlehem to celebrate the first week of Advent, a season of four weeks of eager preparations for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. This was also the day of the lighting of the 15 meters high Christmas tree, placed on the Manger Square in front of the Basilica of the Nativity. The event, which also included fireworks and cultural performances attracted a many people from all faiths.  

Not surprisingly, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on the 24th and 25th of December respectively, are the peak days of the season. Visitors flock to the city in hope to participate in Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Catherine's Church of the Nativity Church, which is celebrated exactly over the grotto where Christ was born. Others simply wish to enjoy Bethlehem during this very significant period.

No room for Mary and Joseph

Christmas in Bethlehem 2013 Travelujah

Christmas season 2013 should have a positive impact on the local economy. Many hotels and guest houses are reporting full occupancy between 24th and 26th of December. Locals joke by saying that if Mary and Joseph would travel to Bethlehem this year, they would again have a difficulty with finding room at the inn, and while this might be true – there are many families that open their houses to the visitors. It is possible to rent a room or a whole apartment and enjoy Christmas in Bethlehem.

Planning to spend Christmas 2013 in Bethlehem? Travelujah has compiled a number of useful tips and answers on the frequently asked questions regarding this year’s Christmas in Bethlehem:

1.    Where is Bethlehem located?

Bethlehem is a Palestinian town under Palestinian Authority’s administration, which is located around 9 km south from Jerusalem.

2.    How to travel form Jerusalem to Bethlehem?

It is possible to reach Bethlehem from Jerusalem by public transportation. Buses to Bethlehem can be found on the Bus Station located in front of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. Bus #21 (7.5 NIS) can take you through Beit Jala to Bab el-Zkak, which is a main junction in Bethlehem (Beit Jala and Hebron-Jerusalem roads), situated around 1 km from the Manger Square, which can be reached on foot after 15 minutes of following Pope Paul VI street. Bus #24 (5.5 NIS) can take you to the ‘checkpoint 300’ (Rachel’s Tomb checkpoint), which has to be crossed on foot. It is around 2 km away from the Manger Square. It is very easy to find a taxi after the checkpoint. However, if you would like to walk this distance, please first follow Manger Street for 15 minutes, and then turn towards Star Street, which after another 15 minutes will lead you to the Manger Square.

Please remember to take your travel document with you. Your identity will be checked at both  the Beit Jala checkpoint and Rachel’s Tomb checkpoint on your way back into to Jerusalem.

A free shuttle bus, organized by the Bethlehem Municipality is available on December 24 to help everyone who would like to join the Christmas Celebrations on the Manger Square. The shuttle buses are expected to operate from 3 pm until 9 pm. Pick up points are: 1) ‘DCO’ – which is the entrance to Beit Jala that can be reached with the bus #21 from Jerusalem. The shuttle will pass through Beit Jala Municipality Square and dropping passangers at the Bus Station close to the Manger Square and the Nativity Church.
2) After checkpoint 300 with drop off at the Bus Station
3) Nissan Restaurant Roundabout with drop off at the Bus Station
4) Beit Sahour Market Square with drop off at the Bus Station.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism also aims to facilitate visitors with free buses leaving according to demand from Mar Elias Monastery to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and back again. These buses will operate non-stop from noon on 24 December through to noon on 25 December. Mar Elias Monastery can be reached by both buses #21 and #24 from Jerusalem.

3.    Can I visit the Nativity Church during 24th – 26th of December?

The Nativity Church and the St. Catherine’s Church can be visited on December 24th only during the morning hours (5 am – 12 am). On the 25th and 26th of December the Nativity Church can be visited from 5 am till 5 pm. The Church of the St. Catherine can be visited only after 12 am on December 25 due to the Christmas masses.

4.    When is the best time to visit Bethlehem to enjoy the Christmas celebrations?

Decembers 24th is generally the most interesting day with a variety of activities available. To tour the Nativity Church, you must arrive before noon, the church will be closed at 12 pm to prepare for the Christmas Eve Mass.

The solemn welcoming of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is a major highlight on December 24th. The annual scout parade begins from the King David Wells and follows Star Street towards Manger Square. The scout shows begin at 11 am and the Patriarch is scheduled to arrive at the Rachel’s Tomb at 1 pm and he will enter the Nativity Church at 2:30 pm.

Arrive as early as possible, even a day prior if possible, to avoid any last minute delays.

5.    How to obtain tickets to the Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Catherine’s Church?

Christmas in Bethlehem 2013 Travelujah

The St. Catherine’s Church door opens at 9 pm and the Christmas Eve mass service begins at 11:15 pm. Special tickets are required to attend Christmas Eve Mass. To apply for a ticket please contact the Christian Information Center in Jerusalem at fpo@cicts.org. More information and the application form can be found here: http://cicts.org/default.asp?id=739&ricerca=christmas+mass

While tickets are free of charge, there is always a higher number of the pilgrims seeking to attend the mass than space available in the church. The mass is also shown on a giant screen to those outside in Manger Square.

6.    Are there any alternative church services for Christmas in Bethlehem? -Yes.

24/12 – Tuesday – Christmas Eve Mass:

  • 5 pm – Christmas Lutheran Church (Madbaseh Square) in Arabic
  • 6 pm - Mass of Salesian Fathers in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Star Street) in Arabic
  • 8 pm - Greek Catholic Church (Star Street) in Arabic
  • 9 pm - Christmas Lutheran Church (Madbaseh Square) International Christmas Eve Service
  • The Christmas Eve Mass has been also yearly celebrated in the Latin Shepherd’s Fields Church in Beit Sahour. According to the information given by the CIC in Jerusalem the exact hour of the service will be announced one week before the celebration.

25/12 (Wednesday) - Christmas Day Mass:

  • 8:30 am - Mass of Salesian Fathers in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Star Street) in Arabic
  • 9:30 am - Greek Catholic Church (Star Street) in Arabic
  • 10:30 am – Christmas Lutheran Church (Madbaseh Square) in Arabic

26/12 (Thursday) - Christmas Day Mass:

  • 10 am - Greek Catholic Church (Star Street) in Arabic

7.    Are there any civic events during this period?

Yes, of course! Bethlehem Municipality and other private organizations prepared a very nice program of interesting civic events

24/12 – Tuesday:

  • 10 am – The Bible College Choir on the Manger Square stage
  • 11 am – Vocalist Fares Abu Farha on the Manger Square stage
  • 1:30 pm – Reception of his Beatitude the Latin Patriarch on the Manger Square
  • 3 pm – Forgive All Concert in the Convention Palace (next to Solomon Pools – Artas)
  • 4 pm – The Anglican Cathedral of St. George holds a carol service at Shepherd’s Fields of YMCA
  • 4 pm – Show of Traditional Palestinian Costumes by Palestinian Heritage Center on the Manger Square stage
  • 4:05 pm – St. Catherine Church Choir on the Manger Square stage
  • 4:45 pm – Al-Bishara Choir from Nazareth on the Manger Square stage
  • 5:30 pm – Kisi Kids – Austrian & Russian Kids on the Manger Square stage
  • 6:30 pm – Trondheim, Rim Banna, Henning Sommerro on the Manger Square stage
  • 7:30 pm – Christmas Carols by the Baptist Church from Jerusalem on M. S. stage
  • 8:30 pm – The Korean American Everlasting Choir on the Manger Square stage
  • 9:30 pm – Chichi Choir from England on the Manger Square stage
  • 10:45 pm –  Vocalist Elizabeth Von Trapp on the Manger Square stage
  • Shepherd’s Nights Musical Festival in the Old City of Beit Sahour: 3:30 pm Al Harah Theater – show for children; 6:00 pm – Thaer Bargouthi; 7:00 pm – Lutheran School Choir

25/12 – Wednesday:

  • Shepherd’s Nights Musical Festival in the Old City of Beit Sahour: 4:30 pm Candles March (from the Orthodox Shepherds’ Field to Souk el Sha3eb, then to the Old City of Beit Sahour.); 6:00 pm – Dam Band; 7:00 pm Closing Ceremony

8.    Can I have a Christmas lunch / party in Bethlehem?

Yes. Numerous restaurants and hotels are available in Bethlehem where one can reserve a Christmas lunch or dinner. Reservations are suggested.  For more information, please contact: vicbethlehem@gmail.com

9.    How can I book an accommodation in Bethlehem with a local family for Christmas?

If you would like to book any kind of accommodation in Bethlehem, the team of the Visitor Information Center in Bethlehem can help you. Contact vicbethlehem@gmail.com

10. Can I return to Jerusalem after the Christmas Eve Mass is finished?

Yes, there will be provided a free bus service, which will operate non-stop from noon on 24 Dec. through to noon on 25 Dec. from the Nativity Square to the Mar Elias Monastery. Please note that Mar Elias Monastery is closer to Bethlehem than to the Old City of Jerusalem and therefore you may wish to consider arranging a taxi to pick you up directly from Bethlehem or from Mar Elias Monastery.

Christmas Eve Tour

Christmas in Bethlehem 2013 Travelujah

If you would like to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem on the Christmas Eve with a guided tour, join this special Christmas Eve Tour offered by Travelujah. There are sheduled pickups from Herzliya, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

***

Beata Andonia blogs regularly for Travelujah, the leading faith-based social network in the Holy Land. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010. 


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