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Palestinians gather for Christmas tree lighting in Ramallah

Palestinians gather for Christmas tree lighting in Ramallah

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Dec 2019, 04:54 am

Ramallah/Xinhua/UNI: Thousands of Palestinians gathered Sunday evening for the lighting of the Christmas tree in the West Bank city of Ramallah, amid colorful festive atmosphere.

The ceremony included a firework show and festive activities.

Majdi al-Ladaa, a computer engineer living in Ramallah, told Xinhua that the holiday season and celebrations spread a feeling of joy among people from different backgrounds.

"It feels great that people gather here, regardless where they come from, and feel the happiness even if for one day only. What matters is that we come together on this day," he said.

Nadine Aranki, who is from Taybeh village near Ramallah, said that the general circumstances hardly allow Palestinians to enjoy public holidays and festivities and this is why such an event attracts thousands.

"Christmas is a national holiday. We like to celebrate it with our families, in spite of our difficult political situation and the internal problems due to the occupation. But being here makes us feel joy on seldom occasions," she said.

Ramallah was the second Palestinian city to witness the ceremony to light its Christmas tree in a public square, after Bethlehem on Saturday.

The holiday in Palestine is usually accompanied by traditional Christmas markets in main city centers, where local vendors and craftsmen are given an opportunity to display their works and goods.

Palestinians consider Christmas to be a national holiday because the birthplace of Jesus is believed to be the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.  

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm