In Arab countries with a majority Christian population, such as Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria, Christmas is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Festivities include vibrant decorations on streets and in homes, bright lights, adorned Christmas trees, and elaborate family meals.

For example, in Egypt, the Coptic Christian community celebrates Christmas on January 7th with special masses in churches and processions. Traditional dishes like “fattah,” a meat and rice stew, are prepared, and gifts are exchanged among family and friends.

Christmas in Arab Countries
Christmas in Beirut, Lebanon

In Lebanon, Christmas celebrations include street and plaza decorations, Christmas markets, concerts, and parades. Christmas Eve dinner is a special occasion where families gather to enjoy traditional dishes like “kibbeh” and “stuffed grape leaves,” and gift exchanges are common.

In Syria, the Christian community also celebrates Christmas with religious liturgies, festive decorations, and traditional foods such as “hashweh” (a lamb and rice dish), sweets, and desserts.

Each Arab country has its own traditions and customs that make the celebration of Christmas unique. Christian communities in these countries keep the essence of this holiday alive with practices rooted in their culture and religious faith.

Celebrating Christmas in Arab Countries

There are several Arab countries where Christmas is celebrated, primarily those with significant Christian communities. Here are some of these countries and how Christmas celebrations take place:

  1. Lebanon: It is one of the Arab countries with a large Christian population. Christmas is celebrated with enthusiasm and color. Streets are decorated with bright lights, Christmas trees, and festive ornaments. Families gather for Christmas Eve dinner, where they enjoy traditional dishes like “kibbeh,” and gift exchanges are common. Churches organize special masses and festive events throughout the country.
  2. Egypt: The Coptic Christian community in Egypt celebrates Christmas on January 7th. Churches organize special religious services and processions. Houses and streets are decorated with lights and Christmas trees. Traditional dishes like “fattah” (a meat and rice stew) are prepared, and gifts are exchanged among family and friends.
  3. Syria: Despite recent conflicts, the Christian community in Syria celebrates Christmas with special religious liturgies in churches. Houses are decorated with Christmas ornaments, and families gather to enjoy traditional foods like “hashweh” (rice with lamb meat) and typical sweets.
  4. United Arab Emirates (UAE): It is a country where Christmas is celebrated in a special manner, although it is not an official holiday due to its Muslim majority and the cultural diversity that coexists in the country. In the UAE, due to the presence of a large community of expatriates from different parts of the world, certain Christmas manifestations can be observed in areas where Christian communities reside. In places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Christmas decorations can be seen in shopping malls, hotels, and tourist areas. Many shopping centers have decorated Christmas trees, twinkling lights, and festive displays during the Christmas season to attract residents and tourists. Expatriate Christian communities in the UAE celebrate Christmas by attending religious services in churches and organizing family gatherings or gatherings with close friends. Although it is not an official public celebration, the presence of this festivity is observed in areas where there is a significant concentration of foreign residents who follow the Christmas tradition.
  5. Jordan: Christmas is celebrated by a significant part of the country’s Christian population. Although Jordan is mostly Muslim, it has a Christian minority that celebrates Christmas as an important religious and cultural festival. Christian communities in Jordan, especially Orthodox and Catholic denominations, celebrate Christmas with special masses in churches, processions, and religious events. Areas where the Christian community resides may be decorated with lights, Christmas trees, and other festive decorations. Christmas Eve dinner is a special occasion where Christian families gather to share traditional meals, exchange gifts, and enjoy the company of their loved ones. Additionally, in some tourist spots or more cosmopolitan urban areas, Christmas decorations can be found in shopping malls or public areas to celebrate the festive season.


Christmas in Arab Countries
Christmas in Dubai (UAE)

Although Christmas is not a national holiday in the United Arab Emirates due to its cultural diversity and Muslim majority, expatriate Christian communities have the freedom to celebrate it, and some areas display decorative elements and events reflecting this festivity during the season.

In Jordan, Christmas is celebrated by the Christian community as an important religious and cultural festival, observing traditions such as masses, family dinners, and festive decorations in areas where Christian communities reside.

These Arab countries with Christian communities have their own traditions and customs to celebrate Christmas. Festivities include religious aspects, festive decorations, traditional foods, and family gatherings, keeping alive the essence of this celebration within their respective cultures.

Where Christmas is NOT celebrated in Arab countries:

Celebrating Christmas in Arab countries is not a common practice due to their Muslim majority and the significant absence of Christian communities. Some of these countries include:

  1. Saudi Arabia: Christmas is not openly celebrated in Saudi Arabia, as it is a country with a Muslim majority and does not have a significant Christian population. Public expressions of Christmas celebrations are restricted due to the country’s laws and regulations, which strictly adhere to Islamic practices.
  2. Yemen: In Yemen, Christmas celebrations are not common due to the predominance of the Muslim population in the country. Yemen is mostly Muslim, and the Christian community is very small compared to other religious communities. Christmas is not part of the national festivities or cultural traditions in Yemen. Yemeni culture and traditions are rooted in the practice of Islam, and Islamic festivities such as Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr are the most significant celebrations in the country.
  3. Oman: Although Oman has a small Christian community, the celebration of Christmas is not as prominent or widespread as in some other countries. The country remains predominantly Muslim, and Christmas festivities are not an integral part of the national culture.

In these countries, the lack of a significant Christian presence and adherence to Islamic faith are the main reasons why Christmas is not widely celebrated or is not part of national traditions.

Why do followers of Islam not commemorate Christmas and what is their holy book’s perspective on Jesus?

Despite being one of the main figures in the Catholic religion and Christmas being one of the most widely celebrated festivities globally, Muslims, followers of Islam, do not partake in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus Christ is considered a relevant figure within Islam, the celebration of his birth is excluded due to fundamental reasons rooted in the vision that this religion holds about him.

The Quran, the sacred text of Islam, presents Jesus as yet another prophet, sent to spread the message of Allah. Called Isa in Arabic (the language of Muhammad), he is recognized as the anointed one. His story shares similarities with the Catholic account but also contains notable differences. The divine conception of Jesus, central in Christianity, is maintained in Islam, where the Angel Gabriel also announced to Mary her pregnancy. Both religions uphold the virginity of Mary and emphasize that there was no male intervention in the conception of Isa.

The primary discrepancy between Islam and Christianity regarding Jesus lies in his significance. While Christians consider him the son of God, the Quran positions him as an important prophet, second in importance after Muhammad.

Muslims do not commemorate Christmas for several fundamental reasons. Firstly, they do not recognize December 25th as the precise date of Jesus’ birth, as this date lacks historical and testimonial support. Furthermore, the Quran does not specify a particular date for Isa’s birth, suggesting it occurred in summer.

Secondly, Islam does not promote celebrating the prophets’ anniversaries. They do not even commemorate the birth of Muhammad, the religion’s founder. Although Muslims do not celebrate Christmas, this does not imply underestimating its significance within the context of Islam.

See more culture of Arab countries here.

If you are ready to start the exciting adventure of learning Arabic? contact us now! We are here to help you. What we offer:

  • Interactive Classes: Our classes are dynamic and participatory. You will learn in a fun and effective way.
  • Native Instructors: We have native Arabic instructors who will guide you through every step of the learning process.
  • Flexibility: You can study from the comfort of your home and adjust your schedule according to your availability.

Online Arabic tutors

Learn Arabic Online

Online Arabic tutors

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.