Palestinian Christians in Gaza lit the traditional Christmas tree on Saturday, marking the beginning of official Christmas celebrations in the besieged Gaza.
Hundreds of Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, participated in the lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree, in the YMCA square in Gaza City.
Christians celebrate Christmas eve on the night between December 24-25 of each year, while eastern Christian communities celebrate it on January 7.
Tens of thousands of Christians from around the world arrive in East Jerusalem and other areas within the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to participate in the celebrations inside the holiest sites for Christians in the world.
For Palestinian Christians, however, reaching the holy sites is not an easy feat, due to Israeli military restrictions.
According to Kamel Ayad, a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Gaza, in 2022 Israeli authorities prevented 200 Christians from going to Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem to take part in Christmas celebrations, citing “security concerns”.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)