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What are Palestine’s unique Christmas rituals, disrupted by Israel’s war?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

Illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Al Jazeera or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Traditional Christmas rituals in Palestine are being markedly subdued or altered this year due to ongoing conflicts and challenges faced by the Christian community
• Celebrations are being replaced by simpler ceremonies, mourning, and prayer, reflecting the harsh realities of the region

🔭 The context: The festivities and celebrations typical of Christmas in Palestine are overshadowed by recent events, including the bombardment of Gaza’s oldest Greek Orthodox Church and the killing of Christian residents
• These incidents reflect the challenging circumstances faced by the Christian community in the region
• Bethlehem, a city central to the Christmas story and currently under Israeli occupation, is experiencing a profound transformation in its celebration of the holiday

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The situation of Christians in Palestine highlights broader issues of religious freedom, conflict, and the impact of geopolitical tensions on cultural and religious practices
• It also points to the diminishing presence of Christian communities in areas with historical and religious significance

⏭️ What's next: Traditional Christmas rituals in Palestine, such as the procession of patriarchs and midnight mass, continue but with a more somber tone this year
• The celebrations are more reflective, focusing on prayer and mourning rather than jubilation

💬 One quote: "Jesus was born on our side of the wall" (Palestinian pastor Reverend Munther Isaac)

📈 One stat: The Christian population in Palestine, once a significant minority, has dwindled to about 50,000 amidst ongoing regional conflicts and socio-economic challenges

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