In pictures: Israel celebrates the holidays

Israel is a cultural mosaic, and at no time is that more obvious than in December, when Jews and Christians in the country celebrate two major holidays – Hannukah and Christmas – often within a few days of one another, …

Israel is a cultural mosaic, and at no time is that more obvious than in December, when Jews and Christians in the country celebrate two major holidays – Hannukah and Christmas – often within a few days of one another, and even overlapping at times.

 

Hannukah is a festival of light – an eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The tradition is to light a nine-branched hannukiya with brightly-colored candles. The first night only one candle is lit, with another being added for each day of the holiday.
Christmas, which is observed by the 136,000 Christians living in the country, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Some 70,000 pilgrims are expected to arrive in Israel for the holiday this year.

Israel’s city streets are lit up with neon hannukiyot during the festivities, and the shops are bursting with people buying anything from Christmas trees and tinsel, to Hannukah candles, soufganiyot (jelly donuts) and hannukiyot.

Whatever your faith, ISRAEL21c brings you a series of pictures to enhance your enjoyment of the holiday season.

Find out more in the photos below. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.

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About Nicky Blackburn

Editor and Israel Director, Nicky Blackburn has worked extensively as a journalist and editor both in Britain and Israel for a range of national and international publications including The Cambridge Evening News, London News, Travel Weekly, Israel High Tech Investor, and The Times of London. She was the Associate Editor at LINK Israel’s Business and Technology Magazine, and the High-Tech Correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.