Christmas Day Celebration – Bethlehem

We woke up on Christmas morning and after a quick breakfast (guess what we ended up eating again), we made our way back to Manger Square to see what was going on on Christmas Day. The area right in front of the Church of Nativity was packed with people singing and dancing, a wild departure from the solemn mass and hectic mobs present on Christmas Eve. A band of Arabs played the drums and various brass instruments in the center of everyone,  singing songs in Arabic over a loudspeaker (5). The songs sounded similar to the Muslim prayers that could be heard at night, but were unmistakeably Christian, with Hallelujahs sprinkled through. The celebration was great: there was an amazing juxtaposition of the Middle East and the West. Santa hats were worn by orthodoxy and kids alike (3), and traditional Christian symbols were held up next to red nosed reindeer.  Everyone was dancing in a circle around the musicians because everyone was there for the same reason.

After about an hour we decided to leave even though the celebration showed no signs of dying down. As we moved farther away, the festivities died down and we began to be reminded of exactly where we were (9).

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~ by jonathanmtsai on December 28, 2010.

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