Belén prepares for Merry Christmas after 2 years of pandemic

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (HPD) — The biblical town of Bethlehem is preparing for a merry Christmas, as its inhabitants hope, as thousands of people are expected to visit the place where Jesus Christ was born, according to tradition, and which is on the mend. after the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism is the main economic breadwinner for this city in the occupied West Bank and due to the pandemic there have been no arrivals of visitors in the past two years.

This 2022 that is about to end, the visitors have returned, the hotels are full and the stores register great activity for the end of the year celebrations.

“We are celebrating Christmas this year in a very different way than the year before,” said Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maayah.

“We are celebrating Christmas with pilgrims from all over the world,” he added.

Crowds were already visible just before noon as police and businesses prepared for the festivities.

Police erected barriers in Manger Square, where marching bands played drums and bagpipes.

Foreign tourists toured the area and took selfies in front of the city’s large Christmas tree.

Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, was scheduled to arrive from neighboring Jerusalem to greet the devotees.

Afterwards, he would celebrate Midnight Mass in the Church of the Nativity, built on the place where Jesus Christ was born, according to Christianity.

However, the current political reality did not deviate from Manger Square, where there were banners with portraits of the Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hamid.

The former prisoner died of cancer last week in an Israeli prison clinic after spending 20 years behind bars as responsible for the deaths of seven Israelis.

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