RAMALLAH, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Palestinians gathered Sunday evening for the lighting of the Christmas tree in the West Bank city of Ramallah, amid colorful festive atmosphere.
The ceremony included a firework show and festive activities.
Majdi al-Ladaa, a computer engineer living in Ramallah, told Xinhua that the holiday season and celebrations spread a feeling of joy among people from different backgrounds.
"It feels great that people gather here, regardless where they come from, and feel the happiness even if for one day only. What matters is that we come together on this day," he said.
Nadine Aranki, who is from Taybeh village near Ramallah, said that the general circumstances hardly allow Palestinians to enjoy public holidays and festivities and this is why such an event attracts thousands.
"Christmas is a national holiday. We like to celebrate it with our families, in spite of our difficult political situation and the internal problems due to the occupation. But being here makes us feel joy on seldom occasions," she said.
Ramallah was the second Palestinian city to witness the ceremony to light its Christmas tree in a public square, after Bethlehem on Saturday.
The holiday in Palestine is usually accompanied by traditional Christmas markets in main city centers, where local vendors and craftsmen are given an opportunity to display their works and goods.
Palestinians consider Christmas to be a national holiday because the birthplace of Jesus is believed to be the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.