Christmas in Israel: Celebrate the Birth of Christ in the Holy Land
For Christians, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and what better way to celebrate than heading to his birthplace. Many Christians opt to spend Christmas in Israel, taking the time to visit the Holy Land and all of its biblical sites. Here’s where to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land.
Christmas in Bethlehem
For many pilgrims, the only place to spend Christmas is Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace. The city offers a host of festivities during the Christmas period, but the main event is the Christmas Eve procession. Starting in Jerusalem and winding its way to Bethlehem, the procession is watched by tens of thousands of visitors, and culminates at the Church of the Nativity, where Midnight Mass is held. For travelers unable to secure tickets for the mass, the whole ceremony is projected onto big screens in Manger Square.
Note: Bethlehem is located in the Palestinian controlled West Bank, and only accessible from Israel through a military checkpoint. You must take your passport to gain entry.
Christmas in Nazareth
Located in Israel’s Northern District, Nazareth is a popular choice for those looking to spend Christmas in Israel. Considered to be Christ’s hometown, there’s plenty to see and do over the Christmas period. Like other cities, Nazareth holds an annual Christmas market where visitors can enjoy a variety of world cuisine while shopping for decorations, trinkets, and other delights. Christmas concerts, parades, and firework displays are all hosted in the lead up to Christmas, while the Basilica of the Annunciation holds the city’s main Christmas Mass.
Nazareth’s large Christian community means the city is often decorated for Christmas, making it stand out from other Israeli destinations which are generally more subdued due to larger Jewish and Muslim communities.
Christmas in Jerusalem
Understandably, Jerusalem is a popular choice with tourists looking to spend their Christmas vacation in Israel. The Holy City is home to a plethora of sites synonymous with Christ, and as such welcomes streams of tourists during the festive period. As well as its famed Christian churches (the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, St. James’s Cathedral, Church of St. John the Baptist, et al.), the city also hosts celebratory concerts, where carols are sung by choirs and visitors alike. Meanwhile, holiday markets and special events are organized for those looking to celebrate Christmas in Israel.
Other locations to celebrate Christmas
Even if you’re not planning on spending your Christmas vacation in Israel at one of the above destinations, you’ll find plenty of other locations offering a slice of Christmas celebration. A truly metropolitan city, Tel Aviv caters to Christians looking to celebrate Christmas, offering a number of festivities, most notably the Christmas market in Jaffa. Haifa hosts the Holiday of Holidays festival throughout December, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other faiths get together to celebrate. Meanwhile, Ramla features Israel’s largest Christmas market. Of course, if you’re not devoutly Christian and you’re simply looking to enjoy a quick break at Christmas, a trip to Israel’s sandy beaches offers a very different way to spend your Christmas vacation.
Herods Hotels offer exceptionally comfortable and convenient accommodation for a truly memorable Christmas vacation in the Holy Land.
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