Bethlehem Christmas procession brought forward
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Bethlehem Christmas procession brought forward

After concerns about severe weather, organizers says annual march will start at noon

A Palestinian man walks past a Christmas tree at the Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's birth, on December 20, 2016 in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem. (AFP PHOTO / MUSA AL SHAER)
A Palestinian man walks past a Christmas tree at the Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's birth, on December 20, 2016 in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem. (AFP PHOTO / MUSA AL SHAER)

The annual Christmas procession in Bethlehem has been brought forward on Saturday as organizers fear forecast bad weather could put a damper on celebrations, Hebrew language media reported.

The procession will now start at 12:30 and end at 17:00 and wind its way through Bethlehem in the West Bank, before ending in Manger Square next to the Church of the nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Heavy rains were expected on Saturday night.

Thousands of pilgrims are expected in Bethlehem on Saturday for Christmas Eve, when celebrations culminate with midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity — with the grotto where Jesus is believed to have been born underneath.

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