1 December 2019
After night fell, the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony was underway while hundreds gathered at Manger Square to celebrate the start of holiday season on Saturday. With a bright red star gleaming at its top, the giant tree was illuminated by hundreds of golden-white bulbs as fireworks lit up the night sky.
Bethlehem revered as the birthplace of Jesus attracts thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims in the festive Christmas time and the city authorities make the lighting of the tree into one of the most memorable celebrations of the year. Bethlehem is usually particularly busy ahead of Christmas on Dec. 25, with tourists and pilgrims flocking to the Biblical city. Christians make up around 1% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
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