Even though the country shares some ancient Christmas stories, the day isn’t widely celebrated as compared to other countries across the world.
Unlike ancient times, current Israel contains only a few numbers of native Christians.
According to the estimates, only 2.5% of the entire Israeli population are Christians.
Some of the cities that never sleep in Israel when celebrating Christmas day include Haifa, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Galilee, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem.
For non-Christians, Christmas day is just a normal day.
Nonetheless, you can still encounter some of the unique Christmas experience in some of the holiest places such as the Manger square, the ancient church of Nativity and the Holy Sepulcher as well as other churches.
During this day, special services are usually held by Christians throughout the country. This includes Christmas concerts such as carols, parades, events and much more.
In the town of Nazareth, the celebrations are always taken a bit higher.
Christians from all over the region do put on Christmas lights in their homes, churches and outdoor markets.
On Christmas day, Jewish happily greet each other to wish them a merry Christmas. They wish themselves a Merry Christmas by saying ‘Chag Molad.’
Decorations and Midnight Mass in Israel
At the Christian quarter in Jerusalem, beautifully decorated Christmas trees are always erected in celebration of this special day.
The best place to be during Christmas Eve is Bethlehem. Thousands of Christians come to this place to attend the Midnight Mass.
Several screens and projectors are usually installed in the town for more comfortable viewing.
After the midnight mass, you can take part in the Latin patriarch’s procession.
Also, there is usually a big fireworks display in cities such as Nazareth and Jerusalem. This signifies the birth of Jesus Christ.
Conclusively, celebrating Christmas in Israel is arguably one of the best experiences that leave lasting memories to not only to visitors but native Jewish as well.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Main Points About Christmas in Israel
- Although the Christmas story took place in Israel, Christmas is not a widely celebrated day and it is not a public holiday in many parts of Israel.
- Christmas is a magical, fun-filled and very important time for the Christians in Israel. It is a day that also coincides with Hanukkah; the Jewish festival of light.
- For the Christians in Israel, there are a feast, baptisms, Christmas services, carols, parades, parties, and concerts.
- There is a Christmas eve parade at the end of the mass. And a big fireworks display ensues.
- Nativity scenes, dramatic re-enactment is very popular among the Christian faithful in Israel during this period.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in Israel
- How do they celebrate Christmas in Israel?
The people of Israel celebrate Christmas by taking part in the parade and decorate tree. They make groups and then recite Christmas carols on the streets and by going to the people in different houses.
- What do they eat for Christmas in Israel?
The people of Israel enjoyed a lot of traditional delicacies on the eve of Christmas. They prefer eating Turkey and lamb chops. They also have endless section of salads which includes tehina, tabouli, Arab salad, potato salad, babaganoush, mushrooms, matbucha, french fries and bread.
- Is Christmas a holiday in Israel?
In major parts of Israel Christmas is not a public holiday. But some of the parts of Israel enjoy this day by staying at home.
- Is Good Friday a holiday in Israel?
In Israel, normal Fridays and Saturdays are considered to be off in most of the working places. Good Friday is also a holiday in Israel.
You’d think Christmas would be huge in Israel, where the Christmas story took place, but only about 2,5 % of the population are Christians and Christmas isn’t even a public holiday in most parts of Israel.
Most of the Christians live in Nazareth where Jesus grew up and where you will find both Christmas lights and decorations, but in other cities like Jerusalem, you won’t find many signs of Christmas, except in the churches.
If you have been to Israel on Christmas or stay in Israel then do share your first-hand experience in the comments below.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Israel
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Israel. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.