Three Different Days of Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Bethlehem is the only place in the world where one can celebrate Christmas on three different days with three different religious traditions.

by Tony Khashram, Managing Director, Aeolus Tours

Christmas in the Holy Land occurs three times, once on December 25th according to the Western Christian Church and again on January 6th according to the Eastern Christian Church and a third time on January 18th for the Armenian Christians.[1] Each Christmas celebration is led by the respective church patriarch, along with their entourage of supporting religious and temporal leaders. All celebrate Christmas with a recurring set of events that have occurred by-and-large the same way for hundreds of years. These arrangements are often referred to as “the status quo”, and they include understandings between the different churches as well as with the local leadership. The three different Christmas Eves follow the very same protocol to the letter.

In addition to the pomp and ceremony connected with the official celebrations, a number of side events – including tree lighting ceremonies, Christmas concerts, bazaars, parades, choirs, receptions, plays and dances – take place throughout the city of Bethlehem.[2]  Bethlehem is the only place in the world where one can celebrate Christmas on three different days with three different religious traditions.

Protestant Christmas in Bethlehem – December 25
Catholic Christmas in Bethlehem – December 25
Orthodox Christmas in Bethlehem -January 6

Armenian Christmas in Bethlehem – January 18
 

[1] http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/bethlehem-christmas
[2]https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2016/12/19/christmas-comes-three-times-a-year-in-bethlehem