Most countries in the world celebrate the Christmas and the New Year’s Eve in the last week of December, starting from the night of December 24 until the end of the year.
The celebrations may look similar but each country has its own customs and traditions that sometimes differ from a neighboring country.
Celebrations in Palestine have great value as Christ was born in Bethlehem, which lies 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem.
The celebrations begin with the parade of scouts getting out from the Old City of Jerusalem, heading toward the Church of Nativity Square.
Here clerics, worshipers and bystanders gather and place a giant tree. Visitors gather at the narrow stone entrance of the church to see where Christ is born.
Iraq has different Christian monuments.
In Nineveh plains village, on December 24, Christians light the Christmas flame in one of the squares. This symbolizes the fire that the shepherds light up while waiting for Christ to be born in (al-Araa); means the weather, which is a Syriac word meaning dazzle or surprise.
Early in the morning people go to collect herbs, thorns and wild plants that has local names. In the afternoon and until night; people and clerics gather around the flame, while holding the candles and singing Syriac hymns and tunes awaiting Christmas.
After putting out the flame, some people walk back and forth above its ashes several times to get its blessings. They collect some of its ashes and throw it in their fields in the belief that it would make a good planting season and bless their crops.