Monday, December 29, 2014

One down, two to go

Christmas in Bethlehem is a moveable feast;
Christmas comes but once a year - unless you live in Bethlehem, where three different Christian denominations celebrate on three different days.
Traditional, on the 25th of December. Then the Orthodox (using the Julian calendar) celebrate on what is, according the the Gregorian calender, January 7th. Followed by the Armenian Christmas on January 18.

All three make merry;
On each Christmas Eve, Bethlehem gives a warm welcome to church patriarchs and priests when they enter Manger Square.
And as waiting crowds of the faithful munch chocolate Santas and sip at sahlab - a hot Ottoman-era drink made from orchids - it's the marching bands that keep them entertained.
 Marching bands and Santa Claus, it's traditional, says one priest;
"This is the birthplace of Christ and we're the oldest congregation in the world. If we don't light our trees and hang decorations here, then we'll die out."

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