Christmas in Syria …. The Land of Peace and Love

Christmas time is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year in Syria. Though Syria is home to a population of different sects and it’s a wonderful thing to see the Christmas spirit alive and well in homes across the country.

 

Syria, which saw large parts of its territory liberated from Terrorist, today from the glamorous capital of Damascus to all around the Syria, ornate Christmas trees, flickering lights and nativity scenes with Joseph and Marry figurines, warming animals and gifting shepherds and kings are seen.

At Christmas, the nativity scene comes to life with the sowing of seeds. Fourteen days before Christmas, ((in Saint Barbara's Day)) sprouted beans and seeds such as chickpeas, broad beans, lentils, oats and wheat are grown on damp cotton wool. By Christmas, these shrubberies fill the cracks of the nativity and other parts of the home.

In Syria, the festival of Christmas is celebrated on a grand scale. Houses, buildings, trees, shopping centers and roads are festooned with Christmas lights to reflect the moods of the Christmas.

Families get together on the Eve of Christmas and perform Christmas rituals. The table displays an eclectic mix of dishes, showcasing Syria’s rich history of cultural influences. One will find the traditional kebbeh, Syria’s national dish made from minced meat and burghul, often served in warm yogurt sauce (a symbol of snow) delicious chicken, lamb. Some of their famous Christmas dishes include 'Baba Ghannouj', 'Hummus', 'Baklava' and 'Mezze platters'.For deserts, the French Mandate stamp is ever so present with the buche de noel (Christmas Log), which graces the table of every home in Syria and at the same time, there is also the traditional meghli (rice flour, anise and caraway pudding), which is often made in celebration of newborns, and so during this time the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

Children await the visit of Santa. Usually, someone in the family dresses up as Santa while children come together next to the Christmas tree for the dispersion of presents.

On Christmas morning, the people attend Mass at church and a cheerful procession is held. Wherever the Mass is held, candles are also lit. During the Mass, the Syrian people chant hymns and prayers. The priest would carry a figure of Jesus Christ in his hand and walk around the church, while the Syrians recite the hymns. After the prayers, the priest performs the 'touch of peace', wherein he touches a person's hand and the touch is passed from one person to another in the church. This ensures the blessings are passed on.

'MiladMajid' meaning 'Merry Christmas' is wished in Arabic to the people of Syria.

In this occasion the oldest city Damascus is lighted and decorated with starts, reindeer, santa and new born Jesus.

Beautiful Christmas decoration lights along one of the world's oldest cities, Damascus.

One of the country’s tallest Christmas trees was unveiled in the capital city from the "Capital of Birth 2" event in the Abbasiyyin Square. a large crowd of people, many dressed in Christmas costumes, gathered to celebrate the occasion, The event included musical performances by the symphony of the military band, then lighting the Gregorian tree 20 meters long, opening the first live cave in Syria at a height of 5 meters and a depth of about 13 meters, then revived the artist AbeerNehmeResital.

Celebration of lighting the Christmas tree in Shahba Aleppo Hotel

Al- Skaylbyeh– Hama is known for its Christmas fair, where lights decorate the huge trees all along the main roadand this year's tree was gorgeous.

For every day in December, different groups perform throughout Syria's Churchs in preparation for Christmas. This picture from Kerelos - Damascus

Under an initiative called "A Tree of a Homeland from Houran to Syria" , a Christmas tree with a height of 25 meters was lit in the parish of Saint George in Basir–Daraa.

Church of the Archangel Michael and Gabriel – Lattakia

Aleppo

From Syria we wish you a Merry Christmas. 

Lara Khouli

 

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