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Thousands gather for Christmas-tree lighting in Bethlehem

Dec. 2, 2018 4:10 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2018 10:22 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of people attended the annual Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Bethlehem's Manger Square on Saturday night to mark the start of the holiday season.

Among the speakers at the night's events was Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who said in his remarks that "With all the joy and hope that is here tonight, we open our hearts and together light this Christmas tree. The tree lighting marks the start of the cheerful holiday celebrations in all of Palestine.”

Hamdallah added, “Happy holidays to all.”

The celebration also included the participation of Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman, several ministers and other officials.

Father Francesco Patton, a top official with the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, who led a service at the Nativity Church prior to the Christmas-tree lighting, was also present.

A fireworks display and festivities accompanied the annual ceremony in the run up to Christmas Eve, which attracts thousands of tourists from around the world.
Watch the video below for the annual Christmas-tree lighting:

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