Bethlehem is an extremely important and remarkable city in the world as it is believed to be the birth place of Lord Jesus Christ. Taking this into consideration, the people of Bethlehem bestow extraordinary mirth and affection towards the celebration of this holy festival. Most of the Christmas celebrations in this city are similar to the ones in Europe and North America, particularly the sparkling markets and illuminated streets. However, there are other major religious events that take place in Bethlehem, following the traditions of this holy land. These events constitute various services and processions led by a number of Christian denominations like Catholic, Greek, Ethiopia, Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian, and so on. The plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity, known as Manger Square, is present on the traditional ground of Jesus' birth; thus, most of the Christmas processions pass through this plaza. The Catholic services are carried out in St. Catherine's Church, while the Protestants perform their services in the Shepherds' Fields.
Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem take place for a longer period as compared to other countries, since it is celebrated on different days depending on various denominations. The Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on December 25 while the Greek, Syrian and other orthodox Christians observe it on 6 January. The Armenian Christians, on the other hand, mark this festival on 18 January. The Catholics keep it simple with a midnight mass on December 24 in St. Catherine's Church, while Protestants celebrate Christmas either by participating in special Christmas services in the church or by touring exclusive services in the Shepherds' Field and church of the nativity in the city. Other famous Jerusalem churches also plan out trips to Bethlehem on the auspicious Christmas Eve. The Orthodox Christians celebrate the spirit of this festival by carrying out numerous religious processions and offering services at the Basilica of the Nativity.
When Christmas gradually starts approaching, markets and streets of Bethlehem are embellished with beautiful decorative items and bright lights. One of the unique adornment elements in this city is the flag. Various Christmas plays are performed, especially on the streets. Each Christian house is painted with a cross with scenes of nativity being exhibited in a corner. A star is set at the Village Square pole. On Christmas Eve, people move out of their homes and gather at the doorways and roofs of the basilica to see the parade. The parade consists of galloping horsemen and police sitting on Arabian horses. They are followed by a man sitting on the black steed carrying a cross, lead by other churchmen and government officials. The parade soberly enters the doors and places an ancient idol of the holy child inside the church. The people are then taken through the curve stairs to a chamber where they can view the Silver Star that labels the birthplace of Jesus.
Christmas is celebrated highly religiously in Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ. This article enlists Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.