BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem City, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, has commenced its Christmas preparations, on Sunday, through its 18th annual Christmas market, taking place in the Manger Square in front of the Nativity Church.
The Christmas market consisted of a total of 45 booths, selling cookies, cakes, children’s toys, books, hand-made jewelry, clothing items, Christmas decorations, carved olive wood items, mulled wine, beer, and hot chocolate.
Sixteen of the booths were international participants from Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Russia, Egypt, Poland, Norway, France, Sweden, Hungary, Armenia, and others.
The remaining 29 participants were local organizations and businesses, which included Rewined, Natural Looks, Arab Women’s Union, Francis Cakes, Lions Club, Ghada’s Art, and the Lutheran Church.
During his opening speech, Anton Salman, the Mayor of Bethlehem, welcomed local and international participants and visitors of the annual event, wishing peace and happy holidays to everyone.
Following the opening speech, various international groups from Italy, Norway, Russia, and Spain performed traditional dances and sung Christmas carols. In addition to local Palestinian groups, particularly singer, Milad Fatoula, who sung in the center of the Manger Square.
Dozens of Palestinians and tourists, whether youths or the elderly, visited the long-awaited Christmas market. Some to shop Christmas items offered by the brightly decorated woodenbooths, while others enjoyed a cup of mulled wine and gingerbread cookies.
Thousands also attended the annual Christmas-tree lighting ceremony, on Saturday night, to mark the start of the Christmas season.
The video below shows the spirit of the Christmas market and interviews with visitors, participants, and organizers: