Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas, ponder changing date

webRNS-Coptic-Christmas1-122018Source: Religion News Service

EL KOSHEH, Egypt (RNS) — This Coptic Christian village about 280 miles south of Cairo calls itself “Little Jerusalem.”

Around this time of year, many of the village’s 40,000 residents recall their frequent pilgrimages to the Holy Land, which include a stop at Bethlehem’s Grotto of the Nativity.

“We make our own papier-mâché scenes of the Grotto of Christmas as a symbol of the holy infant who was born poor in a cave,” said Ne’mat al-Qumos, 52, a vice principal at El Kosheh’s public high school.

Like many other Orthodox Christian communities in the Middle East, Egypt’s 20 million Copts portray the birth of Jesus as happening in a cave, not the wooden stable in the manger scenes prevalent in Europe and the United States.

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