Gauss-Advent Calendar: عيد ميلاد مجيد – Christmas in Jordan
Acceptance, tolerance and openness towards everyone are, in my opinion, important values in Jordan. Tolerance towards religions is also consciously strengthened. For example, you hear the call to prayer from the mosques five times a day, but on Sunday mornings you will hear the church bells as well. 93% of the population profess Islam and 5% Christianity. Accordingly, Ramadan is of course the month that brings the most changes, both on the streets and in daily life. Nevertheless, there is also a wonderful atmosphere in the big cities of Jordan as soon as the Christmas season begins.
I spent part of the pre-Christmas period with friends in Madaba. Madaba is the city with the largest Christian community. Every year, a large crowd gathers in the main square in Madaba to celebrate the first lighting of the Christmas tree. When I was there, a choir was singing Christmas carols, people made a countdown to the lighting and afterwards there was a small firework display. During the Christmas season, I often ate ma’amoul (date-filled biscuits), which my friends’ mothers baked and which are typical for big festivals. They are also prepared for Ramadan.
In Amman, mainly the modern and touristy neighborhoods are decorated for Christmas. One example is New Abdali, a modern district, to which the Boulevard, a shopping street and the Abdali Mall belong. Both are impressively decorated for Christmas. Many locals and tourists come to experience the Christmas atmosphere and do some gift shopping. The highlight in Amman is the big Christmas tree on the boulevard. There are also Christmas decorations in the King Hussain Business Park, a closed area with offices of various companies and in other shopping malls, in various restaurants, bars and pubs. My personal highlight was wandering around the street and from time to time seeing some Christmas trees through the windows – because the Christian families in Jordan of course share similar traditions with us.
The Christmas spirit also evolved in my shared flat. My Jordanian and Italian flatmates and I went to the everyday markets of the city and bought Christmas decorations, decorated our flat with an Advent wreath and lots of Christmas tree balls and converted our small indoor palm tree into a Christmas tree. In fact, we were in such a festive mood that we organized a gathering with friends every day from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, which I was very happy about because I did miss Christmas at home a bit. On Christmas Day, December 25th, which is also a national holiday in Jordan, we had a potluck dinner. In general, young people in Jordan like to go out for Christmas – whether they have Christian friends or not. Because, as mentioned at the beginning, all religions are respected along with their festivals and everyone enjoys the festive spirits.
Share your experiences with us!
Do you come from an Arab country and also have Christmas traditions there? Share your experiences with us in the comments of our posts on Facebook and Instagram! We are looking forward to your comments!