Christmas in Israel, is truly Christmas in the Holy Land, a magically meaningful experience for Christians. Less commercialized than in much of the Western world because Judaism and Islam are the two main religions of Israel, Christmas in Israel is meaningful for its historic significance as the land where the Christmas story took place. Whether visiting Bethlehem for Christmas, experiencing Christmas in Nazareth, spending Christmas in Jerusalem or Christmas in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, it is sure to be a memorable experience.
Preparing for Christmas in Jerusalem by Madmartigand, on Flickr
Christmas in Israel generally coincides with Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light which diffuses a festive spirit across the land. However, beyond this festive spirit icons of Christmas will not be seen so much across the country. In areas with Christian populations such as Haifa, Nazareth the Old City of Jerusalem, and many Russian neighborhoods, symbols of Christmas will be seen, however, as these groups bring with them the traditions.
Christmas in Bethlehem
If you are visiting Israel for Christmas, or just happen to be here and want to celebrate the most popular place to go is the town of Bethlehem which is just south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. Here magnificent and famous services take place on Christmas Eve in Manger Square. In the north of Israel, Nazareth, Jesus’s hometown is also an interesting place to be for Christmas with many festivities.
The best way to visit Bethlehem at Christmas is to join a special tour such as this special tour which is arranged each year on Christmas Eve from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat. The tour takes you for a walk through the Old City of Jerusalem ahead of the celebrations, and then to Bethlehem where you’ll enjoy a festive dinner near Manger Square, before seeing the Midnight Mass celebrations.