Category Archives: Events

Taybeh Village – Holy Land’s Oktoberfest within Biblical Ephraim

Posted by Travelujah The picturesque village of Taybeh, located 12 km northeast of Ramallah, is home to around 1500 people, and is the only all-Christian Palestinian community in the Holy Land (*Majority). From its elevated spot, it overlooks the desert wilderness, the Jordan Valley, Jericho, and the Dead Sea. It’s prominent reputation includes its notoriety as the only Palestinian city that has its own beer factory, Taybeh beer. And every year it rises to prominence in early October as it hosts the Holy Land’s only Oktoberfest. This year it is slated for October 6 and 7, 2012. Biblical Ephraim The history of Taybeh goes back 5000 years, well before Oktoberfest. The site was first settled by Canaanites. It is mentioned in the Bible (Joshua 18:23) as a town of Benjamin – Ophrah. However later, the place was renamed Ephraim. Jesus Christ with His disciples visted the village after the Sanhedrin decided to execute Him. “Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim…” (John 11:54). Why the village is called ‘Taybeh’?  In the late 12th century Islamic ruler Salaheddin entered the Holy Land. The folk story states that one day the leader was invited by the Christians of Ephraim to their village. The Muslim ruler found village’s people very hospitable and generous and called them “Taybeen” (“good and kind” in Arabic). Since that day Biblical Ephraim took the modern name “Taybeh.” Four Churches in Taybeh People of Taybeh belong to three Christian denominations: the Latin (Roman Catholic), the Greek Orthodox and as well the Melkite (Greek Catholic). Each  denomination has its own church in the village: the Roman Catholic Church, dedicated to “The Last Retreat of Jesus”, was inaugurated in l971, the St. George Greek Orthodox Church was rebuilt in l929-1932 and the Melkite Church was built in l964, however the Melkite worship was founded in the village already in 1869. All the communities celebrate Christmas  according to the Western calendar, on December 25th, and Easter, according to the Eastern calendar. But there is also a fourth church in the village… Ruins of a Byzantine church known as “El Khader” (Saint George) are situated east of town.  Still standing are two chapels, an entrance portico and stairway, parts of a mosaic floor, and its well-preserved baptistery.  The church was rebuilt by the Crusaders during the 12th century. Famous Taybeh Oktoberfest – Festival of the Village Taybeh became very famous for its brewery producing the only Palestinian beer named after the village “Taybeh”. The brewers produce four types of beer – Golden, Amber, Dark and Zero (non-alcoholic) and promote the drink as the “The Finest in the Middle East.” Taybeh Oktoberfest is an annual village festival organized in September/October since 2005. The event aims to promote not only the famous beer, but all the local products produced in the village. Oktoberfest 2012 will be celebrated on October 6 and October 7 and festivities will include music, dance performances and a wide selection of  local food. The schedule of activities can be found below. Planning your visit: How to get there? If you are driving a car from Jerusalem, take  road number 60 and after 20-25 km of driving you will notice a sign saying “Taybeh”, turn right and follow the signs.  For those taking public transportation, take bus 18 from the Arab Bus station next to the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem to Ramallah and then  you’ll need to  transfer into a shared taxi (service) to Taybeh. Where to stay in Taybeh: The village offers couple of options of accomodation:

  • Beit Efram Guest House , 16 rooms, call Fr. Aziz (02) 289 8020
  • Pilgrim’s Hostel next to Latin Church, call sisters (02) 289 9364
  • Pension Al Khader, 6 rooms, (02) 289 9771 or 0599 676 747
  • Khouriya Guest House in Jifna (around 20 km away from Taybeh), (02) 281 1485 or 0599587476, E-mail:
  • And there is also coming soon Taybeh Golden Hotel with at least 80 rooms, which will be a theme hotel centred around “The Finest (beer) in the Middle East.” The place is still under construction.

Where to eat in Taybeh: Recommended restaurants are:

  • Taybeh Zamaan Park (Tel: 0599 774 092 or (02) 289 9411)
  • Peter’s Place – Tel: 054 983 8349  or (02) 289 8054)

To learnmore about Taybeh check the website of its municpality:

Yes…Bethlehem on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Easter in Palestine

Christmas Eve and Night in Bethlehem: the Chronicle of a Religious and Social Event

Christmas 2011-2012: Events Calendar

Faith Events




December 15-23rd Saint Catherine’s Church, adjacent to Nativity Church. Nine days of prayers leading to Christmas begin each day at 4:30 PM. Bethlehem
December 16th “Mass for Peace” at Cremisan Monastery. 3:30PM Beit Jala
December 18th-19th The feast of Saint Nicholas in Beit Jala begins with a vespers service on the late afternoon of the 18th, followed by liturgy at 9AM on the 19th. Beit Jala
December 23rd “Mass for Peace” at Cremisan Monastery. 3:30PM Beit Jala
December 24th Christmas Lutheran Church holds its Christmas Eve service at 5 PM. Bethlehem
December 24th The Anglican Cathedral of St. George holds a carol service at Shepherds Field YMCA of Beit Sahour at 4 PM.  At 9PM, a service of lessons and carols in the Nativity Church of Bethlehem is conducted. Beit Sahour and Bethlehem
December 24th-25th The Latin Patriarchate Christmas procession begins by mid-morning.1PM: The Latin Patriarch arrives, entering Nativity Church and proceeding to Saint Catherine’s Church to celebrate an afternoon service at 1:30 PM.9 PM:  Saint Catherine’s will open for those with reserved seating cards.  Services will begin shortly at 11PM, leading up to midnight mass.1:30 AM: Mass in Nativity Church, reserved tickets from Latin Patriarchate needed.  2:30-5:30 AM: Open mass in multiple languages.  10 AM: Saint Catherine’s prayer and solemn mass in Arabic. Bethlehem
December 25th Afternoon visits by the Latin Patriarchate to both the Catholic and the Orthodox Shepherd’s Field monasteries will occur, starting at 2PM. Beit Sahour
December 25th The Greek Orthodox Church of the Forefathers will celebrate its church festival, with a Patriarchal visit, scout procession and an open reception.

Beit Sahour

December 26th Saint Catherine’s Church. Feast of the Holy Family at 9 AM, Feast of Saint Stephen at 10 AM.


December 27th Saint Catherine’s Church. Feast of Saint John the Baptist at 7 AM.


December 28th Grotto of the Innocents, Nativity Church.  Arabic services for the Slaughter of the Innocents (referring to King Herod’s decree) will begin at 7 AM, Latin Mass at 10 AM.


December 29th Shepherds Field, Roman Catholic.  Celebrations for the Feast of the Shepherds begin at 3 PM.

Beit Sahour

December 30th Feast of the Holy Family at Saint Catherine’s Church, 7AM


December 31st Saint Catherine’s Church.  Mass at 4:30 marking the end of 2010, including the blessing of holy communion.


January 1st, 2011 Saint Catherin’s Church: New Year’s Day Mass at 8AM. Milk Grotto Church: Mass for the Feast of Holy Mary at 10:30 AM, followed by the procession of the Milk Grotto Icon to Saint Catherine’s.  Another mass will be held at 4:30 PM at Saint Francis Church in the Casa Nova compound.


January 5th Manger Square. Reception of the Custodian of the Holy Land and entrance to Saint Catherine’s at 11:30 AM.  1:45 PM celebration of the hours and censing of Nativity Church, followed by procession at 3:30 PM.


January 6th Saint Catherine’s Church. The Feast of the Epiphany, or the Adoration of the Magi, is celebrated from midnight to 1:30 AM.  At 3:30 AM the procession of the Gifts of the Magi are brought to Nativity Church.  Services will be held from 5-7 AM.


January 6th-7th Nativity Church.  The Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christmas) is celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.9 AM: Reception of the Syrian Orthodox Bishop at Nativity Church.9:30 AM: Reception of the Coptic (Egyptian) Bishop at Nativity Church.1-2 PM: Reception of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem at Nativity Church.2-2:30 PM: Vespers for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

Nativity services begin at midnight and last until 5:00 AM.

January 8th The Synaxis of the Virgin Mary, a primary feast day for Shepherd’s Field Greek Orthodox monastery.

Bethlehem District

January 18-19th The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrates Christmas in Bethlehem.  The entrance of the patriarch to Nativity Church is at 11 AM on the 18th.  Vespers begins at 2:30 PM. The Christmas liturgy begins at 10 PM, lasting until 1 AM on the 19th.


January 24th Mar Theodosios monastery. Mar Theodosios celebrates its feast day with a morning liturgy, followed by the opening of the cave of the Magi.

Mar Theodosios, Beit Sahour

Civic  Events

Event Location  
December 15th Manger Square.  The city of Bethlehem will hold its annual Christmas Tree lighting at 5:30 pm. Bethlehem  
December 17th The city of Beit Jala begins its annual Saint Nicholas Festival. Beit Jala  
December 18th Beit Sahour begins its annual “Great Joy Celebration” at the People’s Market at 4:50 PM. Beit Sahour  
December 19th St. Nickolas Feast – Scouts Parade in Beit Jala 11:30 am
Christmas Show ”Lause & Santa Clause” – Dar Annadwa 4pm
Christmas Festival – R. Stalhofen & Band 6:30pm, M.Hartenberger 8pm, ‘A el-Raseef 9pm – Manger Square
Beit Jala
December 21th Christmas Show “Lause & Santa Clause” – Terra Santa School 9:30am
Christmas Festival – L. Bellon 6:30pm, D. Fresh 7pm, Peter Pan & INEM 8pm – Manger Square
December 22th Christmas Festival – Heart to Heart 6:30pm, Turab Group 8:30pm
Shibat Rock ‘n’ car’Roll Concer at Dar Annadwa at 7pm (40 NIS)
December 23rd Christmas Festival – Indonesian 6:30pm, Tony Kattan 9pm Bethlehem
December 23rd – 25th The YMCA, Siraj Center and Rapprochement Center of Beit Sahour will host the annual “Shepherd’s Nights.” Beit Sahour  
December 25th Peace on Earth Concert – Convention Palace 7:00-9:00 pm Artas  
December 30th Bethlehem Christmas Festival – 80-voice Festival Choir “The Hope of Christmas” at Dar Annadwa 6pm Bethlehem  

For more events in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour during the Christmas season, please contact these organizations!

Bethlehem municipality: 02-274-1323. Beit Jala municipality: 02-274-2601/3351.  Beit Sahour municipality: 02-277-3666.

The Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land. Phone: 02-626-6777.

The Bethlehem Peace Center, Manger Square.  Phone: 02-276-6677.

The Visitor Information Center, Manger Square.

Dar Ad Naddwa Institute: Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem.

John Paul II Foundation, Bethlehem.

The Bethlehem Bible College, Bethlehem.

Bethlehem University, Bethlehem.

Siraj Center, Beit Sahour. Phone: 02-274-8590.

Palestine Center for Rapprochement Between Peoples, Beit Sahour. Phone: 02-277-2018.

Al Harah Theatre, Beit Jala.

For service times of parishes in other locations in Palestine, please contact the following church offices.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Phone: 02-626-6800.

Latin Patriarchate of the Holy Land. Phone: 02-628-2323.

Anglican Cathedral of Saint George (Jerusalem). Phone: 02-627-1670.

Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Phone: 02-628-2023.

Greek Orthodox Jerusalem Patriarchate. Phone: 02-627-8356.

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Phone: 02-626-4866.

The Ministry of Tourism would like to thank the various municipalities, religious institutions and civic organizations of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala for their assistance in compiling this information.   All events were confirmed as of December 4th, 2011, and may be subject to change or cancellation pending unforeseen events.   

Christmas in Bethlehem