Let's go to Jordan to see their christmas tree
It’s christmas time and many of you have already put up a wonderful christmas tree and decorated it nicely. Christmas without a tree is not really christmas, isn’t it? Although I’ve spent christmas abroad a couple of times already (and will do so this year), I do miss the traditions that come with the christmas time in December.
A few weeks back an email found its way into my inbox. I was officially invited to travel to Jordan and take part in the royal christmas tree lightening ceremony. Oh, wait what? They wanted me to actually come all the way to Jordan to watch as they illuminate their christmas tree in a beautiful ceremony.
I couldn’t get this idea out of my mind. It was stuck. I’ve dreamed of going to Jordan for a long time. I was curious about the people, their culture, food, landscape, cities, stories, … So what better way is there of getting to know a culture than accepting this invitation and get to know some of their customs. Needless to say that I accepted this invitation with joy.
Jordan and Christmas
Jordanians are approx. 92% Muslims and 6% of Christian believes. Why do they celebrate a christmas tree lightening then? Jordan is known to be the safest countries in the Middle East and also as the safest amongst the Arab countries. There might be many reasons, but the one that I like to think of is the following: a country that has accepted many refugees over the last years and even decades knows the struggles that those that come bring with them. Hopeless and eager to start all over again. Accepting them with their different religions and customs makes Jordan a country to look up to.
So the royal family sets up a beautiful and huge christmas tree every year and celebrates this tradition with a ceremony. And what better place could they’ve picked for this occasion than the Baptism Site near the river Jordan.
The ceremony itself aka how to light up a Christmas Tree in Jordan
Once I got the the baptism site I was a bit overwhelmed with all the people that were there. Everyone was keen to see the Christmas tree shining in its lights. Guests from all over the world were invited to take part. Such as the archbishop of Sweden who held a lovely speech. She started by pointing out that we don’t even speak the same language, but we all understand the language of signs. And lightening this Christmas Tree is an important sign for all the Christians that live in Jordan.
Unfortunately I didn’t get anything of the other speeches because of my lack of Arabic.
Slowly but steadily the sun disappeared over the horizon and it was getting darker.
The bagpipes started to play again and a countdown began: 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – and 1!
The tree was illuminated and started blinking brightly. Applause filled this holy place and I spotted many happy faces across the people around me.
Isn’t this what christmas is all about? Spending time together, putting behind those fights and try to get along for a bit?! Thank you, Jordan, that you showed me that this is still possible!
Keep on travelling,
Note: As stated above I was invited to visit Jordan, all views and opinions however, are mine alone.