The Christmas Season in the Middle East

I always like to do a visual post every year to show how Christmas is celebrated in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the region’s Christians have suffered a terrible year, with Syria’s Christians and Iraq’s Christian population forced to flee their respective countries due to the Syrian Civil War and the emergence of the Islamic State.

Fun fact: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are the only countries in the Middle East in which Christmas is an official holiday recognized by the government. It is known as يد الميلاد المجيد ‘Īd al-Mīlād al-Mağīd or  Eid Al Sagheer.

Fun Fact: Christmas has been an official holiday in Egypt since 2002. The majority of Egypt’s Christians belong to the Coptic Church, founded in Egypt by St. Michael; they do not celebrate Christmas on December 24th but on January 7th.

Fun Fact: In Lebanon the Armenian Christian population celebrates Christmas on January 6th.

Fun Fact: Egypt and Lebanon put up lots of Christmas lights. Even the Gulf countries like the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar have taken to decorating hotels and other businesses with Christmas lights in a sign of respect for the expat Christian populations.

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Eid Al Milad al Magid!

S-L-M

Resources

1. http://www.sakkara.de/en/294/

2. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/christmas-in-cairo-a-time-for-consumption-and-charity-1.2027587

3. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pursuedbytruth/2014/11/christmas-letter-archbishop-in-syria.html

4. http://www.albawaba.com/slideshow/gift-you-mean-it-12-local-spots-christmas-shop-pro-jordan-628975

5. https://uk.news.yahoo.com/iraqs-christian-refugees-linger-jordan-084512711.html#0egQFeN

6. http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/lights-jaffa-christians-jews-muslims-christmas-628509

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