Monday, December 6, 2021
FeaturesChristmas tree-lighting, a muted event

Christmas tree-lighting, a muted event

Published: 6th Dec 2020 7:07 pm

Bethlehem: Only a few dozen people attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the biblical city of Bethlehem on Saturday night, as coronavirus restrictions scaled back the annual event that is normally attended by thousands.

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A small group of residents and religious leaders participated in the tree-lighting ceremony at Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born. Others watched it virtually due to restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

Some officials, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, attended in person and addressed event participants watching online.

Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman said Christmas is being observed this year in ways like no time before.

“We resorted to modern technology and to the virtual world to celebrate the lighting of the Christmas tree, wishing hope and optimism would flutter upon Palestine and the world,” Salman said.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists typically visit Bethlehem, fill hotels and dine at restaurants during the Christmas season, bringing the area a much-needed injection of cash.

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