Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The town, Bethlehem, with three Christmas Days By Yolande Knell - BBC News, Bethlehem

The Catholics lead processions along the traditional pilgrimage route from Jerusalem to the Nativity Church ahead of their Christmas on 25 December.

But now attention switches to the Greek Orthodox, who make up the majority of Palestinian Christians. Their Christmas Day falls on 7 January.

The 13 day difference is explained by calendars. While the Latin church switched to the Gregorian calendar, devised by Pope Gregory in the 16th Century, the Eastern Orthodox churches still use the older, Julian calendar - created during the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC.

What makes the situation in the Holy Land really unusual is that Armenians here wait even longer for Christmas. Their parade isn't until 18 January.

On each Christmas Eve, Bethlehem gives a warm welcome to church patriarchs and priests when they enter Manger Square.

Christmas comes but once a year - unless you live in Bethlehem, where three different Christian denominations celebrate on three different days.
 
Decorating the Christmas tree in Manger Square
 
Christmas decorations on sale in Bethlehem
 
The Grotto at Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where Christians believe Jesus was born