Bethlehem Starts Christmas Season Early

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The Christmas season is underway early in Bethlehem, as the town of Jesus' birth kicked off its celebration with a tree lighting ceremony Sunday.

Several thousand people gathered for the event in Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity. The church is built on the site where some Christians believe Jesus was born.

Last year, the tree lights were switched on in mid-December, but a Bethlehem official said the city is expanding the season to attract more visitors.

Christians make up a small minority of Palestinians, and Bethlehem is one of the only areas where Christmas is really celebrated.

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