You might wonder “why would they celebrate Christmas in Jordan?” Well for those who aren’t aware the land that comprises modern-day Jordan played an important role in Christianity’s history, outlined in the Old Testament. As a result, Christians have lived in Jordan since the crucifixion of Jesus and continue to do so today. Jordan, as part of the Holy Land is home to several important Christian religious sites such as Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan (the baptism site of Jesus), Mount Nebo (Moses’s sighting of the Holy Land and his burial site), Byzantine churches in Madaba, and Machaerus (the site of John the Baptist’s beheading). These sites play a large role in Jordan’s religious tourism, much of it to Madaba and the Jordan Valley. Basically, what all of that means is Christianity plays a role in Jordan today, not only economically, but socially too.
How to Celebrate Christmas in Jordan
Now that I’ve explained that Christianity has had a presence in Jordan for thousands of years I can now cover how the holiday is celebrated here. Jordan’s small Christian population celebrate their holidays publicly, which means there are lots of Christmas events to attend, especially here in Amman.
Earlier this month we attended the first of many such events. Amman’s The Winemaker hosted their Annual Christmas Bazaar where merchants sold Christmas decorations and ornaments, sweets, food, and drinks. It wouldn’t be an event without everyone’s favorite local craft beer, Carakale on hand selling its beers! After checking out the Christmas decorations we grabbed a Carakale beer and chatted with a colleague of Carrie’s who was also at the Bazaar with her family. We enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere which included classic Christmas music in both Arabic and English and an appearance by Santa himself!
To make our new home feel more Christmas-like we bought a candle from Dalia’s Candles. It was great to see how many people attended the event!
Much to your surprise, this isn’t the only Christmas event in Amman. Major hotels such as the Amman Sheraton, Rotana, Hyatt, and Crowne Plaza just to name a few are all hosting their own Christmas tree lighting events. A few of the hotels will even have Christmas carolers, markets (Rotana is having a Swiss Market), and an opportunity to get your photo taken with Santa. These events are certain to be well attended.
Major hotels aren’t the only ones celebrating Christmas in Jordan. The Zara Center is hosting its own Christmas Market Bazaar later this month. Also, Amman’s hottest shopping area The Boulevard, is hosting a month-long Christmas event, which promises live entertainment, a Christmas market, and activities for children. Last, but certainly not least is the 4th annual Romero’s Christmas Market hosted by the popular restaurant Romero. As you can see there is no shortage of Christmas events here in Amman.
Amman isn’t the only place that will publicly celebrate Christmas in Jordan. The important Christian city of Madaba (where I (Albert) served in the Peace Corps) had its own Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the end of November. The city will also have its annual Christmas parade later this month. Check out last year’s parade shared by Visit Jordan.
Christmas Day happens to be a national public holiday in Jordan and will be celebrated in churches throughout the country.
So as you can see even though we’ve relocated to Amman, we will still be able to participate in lots of Christmas events!
All Photography by Albert Bond