Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem are unique, as it is the birth place of Jesus. Over the past decades, Bethlehemites and the visitors of the city used to enjoy scouts performing during the reception of the Patriarchs along the historic Star Street, the same street that the Holy Family passed through on their way to the Grotto, the Church of the Nativity today
Two years after the spread of the Corona virus in Palestine and the restrictions to limit the spread of the virus last year, dozens of scout teams came this year from all over historic Palestine, such as Haifa, Jerusalem, Birzeit, Aboud, Jifna, Zababdeh and Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala and other Palestinian cities in a show that fascinated and entertained all those present and brought joy and happiness to their heart.
As usual, scouts depart from Terra Sancta School every year on the 24th- December starting at 8:00 am , heading across the Nativity Square to Star Street to the Catholic Action Center, where all the scout teams gather in preparation for their performance again in front of the Patriarch’s procession. Neither the cold weather nor the spread of the new corona varient prevented the Scouts from participating in the celebrations with passion and joy, as if they were the angels of God who herald the world with the birth of Christ by playing the bagpipes and drums
What attracted my lens this year while photographing the celebrations are the boys/girls scouts, the children of today, the heroes of tomorrow. Laughter, great energies, jumps and swings, a group of children here are having fun and another group plays together, each from a different group, as if they are training together or sometimes competing with each other over who is more skilled . Children not caring about the cold weather or even the virus that threatens the world. A mixture of colors, red, yellow, green and blue, but they are all equal on the ground. They are all children, and their only concern is to spend some time playing before hearing the whistle by their leader “Group… Ready, get ready.”
The moment has come, the commander's whistle, "Get ready" group, it's time to go back to the parade. The same boys and girls who were running and playing, within short seconds, each one of them took his musical instrument, and stood-fast, and the parade began again. Suddenly, these children transformed at a record speed from mere children playing to committed scout members, walking with all seriousness and pride as if they were soldiers on a mission. Here and only here you see children without mobile phones, working together for one goal at a confident pace. Here and only here you see social communication at its best in the real world and not the virtual world.
Finally, and despite the psychological and social difficulties experienced by everyone, especially children, during the past two years and until today due to the spread of the Corona virus and the social distancing and closures, being a scout help and may even serve as a psychological and physical treatment for these Children, to help them enjoy the greatest mental and physical health through scouting activities, including the scout parade during Christmas. It can also be considered as an early start for leadership and facing various problems and overcoming them by developing the children’s personality, refining leadership skills, taking responsibility and developing their self-confidence, thus creating a healthy child on the psychological, physical and social levels.