Christmas reborn in Bethlehem after pandemic years

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        <span class="t-location">Bethlehem (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – </span>Christmas tourism is again in Bethlehem after two years of COVID-19-related restrictions, together with large evergreen timber, colourful balloons within the streets and selfies on the Church of the Nativity.         </p><div>

        <p>Town of Bethlehem, revered in Christian custom because the birthplace of Christ, welcomes 1000's of pilgrims and vacationers every Christmas, however the coronavirus pandemic and journey restrictions have lowered the variety of guests within the final two years. Unexpectedly exhausted.

Now, with the restrictions lifted in Israel and the Palestinian Territory, the place Bethlehem is the closest worldwide airport, cities within the southern West Financial institution tackle a festive ambiance.

Scouts marched with bagpipes, and 1000’s of onlookers lined the streets with balloons and cotton sweet.

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Town of Bethlehem’s southern west financial institution has taken on a festive ambiance as journey restrictions have been lifted in Israel and the Palestinian Territory, which has the closest worldwide airport to Bethlehem. ©Hazem Bader/AFP
    </div>Pierbattista Pizzavala, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, greeted worshipers as they arrived on the town earlier than main the annual Christmas Eve procession on the Church of the Nativity.

Bethlehem Mayor Hannah Hanania advised AFP, “Christmas is a metropolis celebration and we have now put loads of effort and time into getting ready it.

“We would like worldwide participation and have organized youngsters’s songs and exhibits with singers from France, South Africa and Malta,” he added.

“necessary place”

Vacationers flocked to the streets, outlets, and stone buildings of this Palestinian city the place Christians and Muslims coexist.

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©Hazem Bader/AFP
    </div>"I am so blissful to be right here," mentioned Paul Wittenberger, a 40-year-old American from Michigan. 

“We stayed right here for 3 days and the climate was good and we’re fortunate to be right here out of the storm.

For John Hughes, it solely meant “hanging out” in Bethlehem.

“It is a very cool metropolis,” the 22-year-old Canadian from Vancouver advised AFP.

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In the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity, a Christian worshiper kneels next to a 14-pointed silver star believed to be the exact spot where Jesus Christ was born.
Within the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity, a Christian worshiper kneels subsequent to a 14-pointed silver star believed to be the precise spot the place Jesus Christ was born. © Ahmad Gharabri / AFP
    </div>For him, the birthplace of Christ was "an necessary place, particularly at Christmas."

After two tough years that noticed native inns empty, Michael Al Siriani, who owns a pottery and pottery workshop, sees vacationers return to city. was blissful.

“After the coronavirus pandemic, issues are a lot better,” he mentioned. “Apart from, vacationers have began sleeping within the metropolis once more.”

The Palestinian authorities that management the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution confirmed Syriani’s emotions.

“Because the starting of the yr, particularly since March, pilgrims and vacationers from all around the world have began coming,” Palestinian Tourism Minister Lola Maaya advised AFP.

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A man dressed as Santa Claus greets children on a street along the Israeli separation wall in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
A person dressed as Santa Claus greets youngsters on a avenue alongside the Israeli separation wall within the occupied West Financial institution metropolis of Bethlehem. ©Hazem Bader/AFP
    </div>“To this point, we have now acquired about 700,000 vacationers from all around the world.

On Saturday, in the meantime, hours earlier than the standard Midnight Mass and its prayers for peace, pilgrims immerse themselves in prayer on the Church of the Nativity, whereas others don pink and white Santa Claus hats and take selfies. I took it.


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