Christmas in Jerusalem is a truly unique time with thousands of pilgrims coming to the city to celebrate Christmas in the place where it all began (nearby in Bethlehem). The city, in particular the Old City’s Christian and Armenian quarters, become adorned with decorations, while other Jerusalem landmarks such as the YMCA, along with the city’s churches celebrate with services and carol concerts. Below are some of the best things to do in Jerusalem at Christmas.
Jerusalem Christmas Events
Preparing for Christmas in Jerusalem
Here are some of the highlights of Christmas in Jerusalem in 2015:
Jerusalem Christmas Tree
December 18 – The lighting of the Christmas tree at the New Gate of the Old City will take place on December 18th at 5pm.
- Christmas Carols Concert at the YMCA. Performances include Gabi Sheffler – Bells (Carillon), Woodwind Quintet, “Inbalim” Ensemble, Sounds of Gilo Choir, Jerusalem International YMCA youth choir, and Israeli Opera soloists. December 24 at 8pm
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem (Franciscan Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament)
December 15-23, 2015 at 16.50 Christmas Novena (after the daily procession)
- Pontifical Institute, Notre Dame Center (New Gate, Tel. 02-6279111, Fax: 02-6271995)
December 24th, 2014 24:00 Carols and Christmas Midnight Mass (Multilingual)
December 25th, 2014: 10:00 Solemn High Mass (Multilingual), 18:30 Holy Mass (English)
Midnight Mass in Bethlehem
Midnight mass in Bethlehem is a unique experience. Either travel independently to the central square and watch on the big screen or join an organized tour. Entry to the church is difficult and usually pre-arranged by ballot.
December 24. Special Bethlehem tours including Midnight Mass in the square. More information and booking here.
Christmas in the Old City
In the Old City, head to the Via Dolorosa and watch pilgrims from around the world walk this famous route with the cross of Christ over their shoulders, made a little more special with the Christmas air.
Across the Christian centers in Israel, Christmas is celebrated. See separate articles about Christmas in Nazareth, Christmas in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and Christmas in Israel.