Nazareth (Agenzia Fides) - In Nazareth, Galilee, thousands of people took part in the tree lighting ceremony, an event organized by the Christmas March Association of in collaboration with the scout associations and the city authorities. The ceremony at the beginning of December inaugurates the series of public events scattered in the weeks that precede and follow the Christmas season. The participation in the appointment, canceled last year due to the pandemic, suggests that this year even the great Christian solemnities of Christmas time celebrated in the Holy Land will allow faithful and pilgrims to take part.
The Christmas March Association in Nazareth has been operating for decades with the aim of highlighting the holy and universal profile of the city where the announcement of the Angel to Mary took place. This year, the events scheduled before and after the Christmas holiday also include several international artistic performances including a representation of the Nutcracker, the ballet with music by Pëtr Il'ič Tchaikovsky.
On November 24, the Israeli Military Coordination for the Palestinian Territories (Cogat) also announced the issue of 500 exit permits from the Gaza Strip to as many Christians who want to celebrate Christmas in Israel and the West Bank, without indicating any particular restrictions regarding the age of the recipients of the permits. In recent years, young people between 16 and 35 years of age had been excluded from the granting of "Christmas permits" for Christians in Gaza. In the past two years, no Christian has been able to leave the Gaza enclave for the holiday season. In 2019, the non-concession was justified by the Israeli authorities on security grounds. The following year, it was Covid-19 that prevented Christians from Gaza from reaching Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem on the occasion of the Christmas season celebrations. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 4/12/2021)