This Christmas, let us remember the people of a town whose name is repeated in churches around the world but whose bleak present-day reality is too often forgotten. Why not host your own Bethlehem Christmas dinner with this beautifully traditional Palestinian Christmas menu?
Food Is The Ingredient That Binds Us Together
The main celebration of Christmas in Palestine centres on a mouth-watering meal. Although what is cooked varies from family to family and from year to year, what remains constant is serving delicate lamb specialties. The slaughtering of a lamb is important, it holds a place at every festive occasion and is a sign of celebration. What really distinguishes festivities in Palestine is the value of the dish, the scarcity of the cooked ingredients, and the time spent in its preparation and cooking.
The menu varies in some homes depending on socio-economic situations. Some offer chicken stuffed with rice and nuts as an alternative to lamb. Others have taken on the western style of making turkey the same way as the stuffed chicken.
Revel in these typical dishes served in homes during Christmas time in Bethlehem.
- Salata Na’meh -Traditional Farmers Salad
- Salatet Banjar – Beetroot Salad
- Bitanjan b’laban – Eggplant Salad with yoghurt sauce
- Hummus – chickpea dip
- Fasoulia Bil Zeit – Green Beans with Spicy Tomato & Olive Oil Sauce
- Chicken stuffed with rice and nuts or in modern day Palestine a turkey stuffed with rice and nuts (same method) or Spiced leg of Lamb with rice and nuts side of cucumber yoghurt with rice or vegetables (traditional offering)
- Kousa w’ Warak – Stuffed Vine leaves and Marrow
- Steamed vegetables
- Kubbeh pie
- Knafeh – cheese dessert
- Moughleh – rice flour pudding with spices topped coconut and nuts
- Ghraybeh – butter biscuits
- Fruit Salad – with rose water and karmadeen sauce
- Harriseh – semolina cake
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Tanya knew that Palestine was her symbolic homeland. Always curious about her identity and connecting with her roots, she was eager to strengthen her ties to the Levant and traveled the region, desperate to learn more. It wasn’t until her first trip to Palestine that she became spiritually and emotionally connected.
She studied Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto. She then moved to the UAE, supporting numerous NGOs related to children’s welfare in the region. When she had her own family, she created the My Olive Roots platform in the hopes that her children and the Arabs diaspora would have a place to connect, learn and preserve their roots. Tanya enjoys discovering humanist stories and exploring the connection of food and art with culture.