Christmas is a festival that is celebrated in almost every country of the country, with great pomp and vigor. The festival brings in happiness, joy, fun and togetherness. Christmas in Syria is no different from other countries. All the stores, buildings and roads in the country are decorated on the day and festooned with lights. Since Arabic is the official language, people greet Merry Christmas as "Milad Majid". In some places where Armenian is spoken, people greet "Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand" as Merry Christmas. Read on to find the Christmas traditions of Syria and how the Syrians celebrate it.
Christmas Celebrations In Syria
In Syria, on the day of Christmas Eve, all family members gather around an unlit bonfire, along with a lighted candle in hand. The youngest child, usually the son, reads out the Christmas story aloud. On the completion of the story, the bonfire is lit. The flames of the fire are believed to indicate the fate and fortune in the coming year. Psalms are sung, while the fire is still burning. After the fire sinks, all the members jump over the embers and ashes thrice, to make their wishes.
In Syria, people attend the Mass on Christmas mornings, where another bonfire is lit in the center of the floor. Ancient hymns are sung and the figure of the Christ Child is carried by the chief church official. He then touches the nearest person as a 'Touch of Peace'. This touch is then carried forward to every person present in the Mass. Just like other countries of the world, feasting is an important part of Syrian Christmas traditions as well. Traditional Christmas dinner generally includes chicken, nuts, pastries and oranges.
In Syria, children receive gifts and presents only on the New Year's Day. The gifts are brought in by the youngest of the camels that moved the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem. Water and hay is left outside the camel's home by the children in the night. They find that their presents have replaced the water and hay in the morning. A special Mass is also conducted on December 6, to honor St. Nicholas Thaumaturgus, a kind-hearted and generous legend.