December 24, 2011
Pilgrims, Tourists Descend on Bethlehem for Christmas Celebrations
Thousands of pilgrims and tourists began arriving in Bethlehem Saturday, to spend Christmas in the town believed to be Jesus' birthplace.
Christmas Eve celebrations in the West Bank town culminate with a celebration of Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity.
The Holy Land's top Roman Catholic cleric, Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal, will lead the mass at the church built over the the spot where it is believed Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh says this Christmas carries special meaning for Palestinians as their bid for statehood moves forward.
"We are celebrating this Christmas hoping that in the near future we'll get our right to self-determination, our right to establish our own democratic, secular, Palestinian state on the Palestinian land. That is why this Christmas is unique," he said.
Early Saturday, visitors gathered around a giant Christmas tree at the town's central Manger Square, while a marching band performed.
One German tourist said seeing Jesus' birthplace is important to her and her family.
"It's really special, I mean, it's where the story began," she said. "And for me it's also kind of special for my family because my parents were here and my grandmother was here so it's special to be here.''
Meanwhile, Bethlehem police were patrolling the once restive city, which lies about eight kilometers south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
Bethlehem's police chief says that his forces are preparing for thousands of people to descend on the city in the next day.
"Today we and the ministry of tourism are expecting more than 300,000 pilgrims and tourists," Khalid Tamimi said.
Eastern Shore - filled with history, waterfront towns, and beaches. Eastern Shore Magazine ™ helps connect you to all the Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore, and Delmarva areas have to offer. Did you know Oxford, MD was voted best waterfront town in the world and is just 90 minutes from Washington DC? Use our Shoregle™ search to find what you're looking for on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia, and in Delaware.
Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem
Eastern Shore of MD information Posted by Eastern Shore Magazine - Oxford, St Michaels, Ocean City and more. We invite you to post a comment and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay. Eastern Shore Magazine is our trademark and service mark. at 10:55 AM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Post a Comment