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Christmas in Israel
The Holy Land where it all began

Christmas in Israel is the ultimate treat for a Christian Pilgrim. Here in the Holy Land of Israel is where everything started more than 2,000 years ago.

The authorities make all efforts to perform all events in the most respectful and proper way for its Christian visitors.

Christmas without a visit to Bethlehem will be incomplete. Even though Bethlehem is under the control of the Palestinian Authorities, arrangements can be done to participate in the chosen activities.




Celebrations of Christmas in Bethlehem

Celebrations of Christmas in Bethlehem


Christmas in Bethlehem, Jesus’ place of birth

The Ministry of Tourism will provide transportation and security arrangements for those visitors staying in Israel and visiting Bethlehem. Here are a few of the activities starting at the beginning of December.

  • December 2 Between 6 and 8 pm, lighting of the Christmas Tree in Manger Square.
  • December 15-23 Novena of Christmas in St Catherine.

December 24

  • 1 pm, His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem visits the Tomb of Rachel.
  • 1:30 pm at manger Square, solemn entry of this Beatitude to the  Nativity Church and St Catherine Church followed by Pontifical Vespers.
  • 4 pm, at St Catherine, daily Procession to the Nativity Grotto.
  • 9 pm at St. Catherine, the Church opens (tickets required).
  • 11:15 pm at St Catherine: Solemn “Office of Readings”.




Midnight Mass in Bethlehem

Midnight Mass in Bethlehem

December 25

  • 12:00 am at St Catherine: Pontifical Eucharistic Concelebration (tickets required).
  • 2:30 am at the Manger Grotto, Low Masses till 5:15 am, Interruption from 5:30 to 7 am
  • 7:30 am at St. Catherine, Parish Mass in Arabic.
  • 10 am at St Catherine, Pontifical Christmas Mass in Arabic and Latin.
  • 2 pm, Pilgrimage to the Greek and then to the Latin Shepherd’s Field.

December 26 Feast of St. Stephen

  • In Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and 7:30 pm
  • At St Catherine, Holy Masses at 6:30 in Italian and 7 pm in Arabic.
  • 12 pm Daily procession to the Grotto of the Nativity.

December 27 Feast of St. John Evangelist

  • In Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and 7:30 pm.
  • At St Catherine, Holy Masses at 6:30 in Italian and 7 pm in Arabic.
  • 12 pm Daily procession to the Grotto of the Nativity.
  • 4:45 pm, Veneration of the Rock of Manger Grotto.

December 28 Feast of the Holy Innocents

  • In Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and 7:30 pm.
  • At St Catherine, Holy Masses at 6:30 in Italian and 7 pm in Arabic.
  • 10 am: Sun Mass in Latin in the Grotto of the Holy Innocents.
  • 12 pm, Daily Procession to the Grotto.
  • 2 pm, Vespers in the Grotto of the Holy Innocents.


Christmas in Israel

Manger Grotto in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem

Manger Grotto in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem


December 29

  • In Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and 7:30 pm.
  • At St Catherine, Holy Masses at 6:30 in Italian and 7 pm in Arabic.
  • 12 pm, Daily Procession to the Grotto.
  • 3 pm, Shepherd’s Field, Solemn Mass at in commemoration of the Shepherds.

December 30-31

  • In Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and at 8:30 pm.
  • December 31 New Year’s Eve
  • In the Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 pm and 7:30 pm.
  • 2 pm Solemn vespers with Procession to the Grotto
  • 4 pm Eucharistic Adoration followed by Holy Mass of Thanksgiving in Arabic with Te Deum.

January 1st

  • In the Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 am and 7:30 am.
  • At St. Catherine, Holy Masses at 6.30 am in Italian and 7:30 am in Arabic.
  • 10:30 am Solemn Mass in Arabic followed by Procession to the Milk Grotto with the Icon of Virgin Mary.


The Epiphany the Three Wise Men visiting the Virgin and her Son

 The Epiphany the Three Wise Men visiting the Virgin and her Son


January 5 Eve of Epiphany

  • In the Manger Grotto, Holy Masses at 5 am and 7:30 am.
  • 11 am at the Tomb of Rachel, His Paternity the Custos of the Holy Land is welcomed by Latin Parish Priest and other representatives of Bethlehem.
  • 11:30 am at Manger Square, Solemn Entry of His Paternity the Custos of the Holy Land into the Basilica of the Nativity and St Catherine Church.
  • 1:45 pm at St Catherine, Pontifical Vespers and Procession to the Grotto.
  • 3:30 pm at St Catherine, Office of Readings and Procession to the Grotto.

January 6 Epiphany

  • Midnight at the Grotto: Holy Masses from 12 am until 9 am with an interruption from 1 am 00 to 2:30 am.
  • 7:30 am at St Catherine, Holy Mass.
  • 10 am at St Catherine, Pontifical Mass in Latin and Arabic
  • 3:30 pm at St Catherine: Solemn Vespers and Solemn Traditional Procession to the Grotto: Veneration of The Infant Jesus with the Gifts of Gold, Incense and Myrrh.


Christmas in Israel

Nazareth gets ready for Christmas

Nazareth gets ready for Christmas


Christmas in Nazareth

For those who couldn’t make it to Bethlehem or Jerusalem, Nazareth Israel is a great option. There is the now annual Christmas Market, a Christmas Parade, and Midnight Mass in the Church of the Annunciation.

The Christmas Market will run from December 18-22, where you can find gifts, souvenirs and goodies.

And don’t miss the annual traditional lighting of the Christmas tree, located by the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation at the beginning of December.


Christmas in Israel


Christmas in Jerusalem

Old Jerusalem is a great place to feel the Christmas spirit, with plenty of churches and sacred sites to enjoy.

The place to be for Midnight Mass is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and also the annual Christmas program at the Christ Church, just inside Jaffa Gate, for some Christmas carol singing.




Christmas in Tel Aviv Yafo

In Tel Aviv, Christmas is not celebrated in particular, but in the sister city of Jaffa you may see the Christmas Tree lighting just next to the Clock Tower and the entrance of town.

In Tel Aviv, since it is the City that Never Sleeps, there are parties all over the city to welcome the New Year.



Christmas in Haifa

Haifa is a multicultural city where Arabs and Jews live in full harmony.

Here you may celebrate together the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah, Christmas and the Moslem Holiday of Eid-al-Adha.

Christmas in Israel is a great experience.




For more information visit Israel Official Tourism Website




images credits for christmas in israel

bethlehem by donatus
midnight mass by donatus
grotto n/a
epiphany n/a
nazareth by elal
jerusalem by times of israel
jaffa by go tel aviv
haifa by oren rozen

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