Santa Letters to Iraq Christmas

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Christmas Traditions in Iraq

Although we don't know how Christmas is celebrated in the new, free Iraq, this is how it used to be celebrated:

In the Christian homes an unusual ceremony is held in the courtyard of the home on Christmas Eve. One of the children in the family reads the story of the Nativity from an Arabic Bible. The other members of the family hold lighted candles, and as soon as the story has been read a bonfire is lit in one corner of the courtyard. It is a supersticious tradition to tell if the family will have good fortune in the future or not.

The fire is made of dried thorns. No particular type or species of thorns. Anyway, the family's future, at least for the coming year, depends on how the thorn fire burns. If the thorns burn all the way down to ashes, the family will have good fortune. If it doesn't burn right, they will not be fortunate in the coming year.

While the fire is burning, a psalm is sung. When the fire is reduced to ashes, everyone jumps over the ashes three times and makes a wish.

On Christmas day a similar bonfire is built in the church. While the fire burns the men of the congregation chant a hymn. The there is a procession in which the officials of the church march behind the bishop, who carries an image of the infant Jesus upon a scarlet cushion.

The long, religious Christmas service always ends with the blessing of the people. The bishop usually touches a member of the congregation with his hand thus putting his blessing upon him.

After that person is blessed, he or she touches the one next him, and so on, until everyone has received "the Touch of Peace."

We do mail Santa Letters to Iraq as well as most other countries in the world.

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