Midnight Mass – Bethlehem

After we ate and settled into our hotel we returned to Manger Square (2) for the Midnight Mass (which deceivingly started at 10pm). The Catholic mass is held in St. Catherine’s Church and tickets are nearly impossible to get (unless you’re a celebrity or a diplomat or incredibly important like Mahmoud Abbas – 6). The rest of us crowded around the stage that once held the revelers and now housed a large screen and projector and watched the mass broadcasted from inside the church. The mass was read in a few languages (Latin, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian) and drew a large crowd at first. The mass was beautiful but progressed slowly and the crowd began to thin. The merchants used the mass as an opportunity to sell tea, chewing gum, and corn on the cob. One was selling what is essentially a mini hot air balloon (8, 9) that turned out not to be Middle Eastern (my Italian friend bought five, all of which had tags in Japanese). The mass went on until about 1.30am (straight into Christmas Day) and everyone said their Merry Christmas’ and headed off to their hotels. Except for us, and this is where we got incredibly lucky:


~ by jonathanmtsai on December 28, 2010.

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