..Merry Christmas to all..And to all a good night..
These epic lines from Moores poem remind us of the snowy Christmas night. The meticulously decorated Christmas tree, aromatic gingerbread cookies, the exchanging of exquisite gifts and attending the peaceful Christmas mass at your parish church are pleasing enough to celebrate Christmas in our homes, with our families.
But for the people with wanderlust, Christmas is a time to travel, to explore new places and make every moment of the vacation count. For the travel enthusiasts or for newbies wanting to travel, Christmas is a time of the year where festivity mood is all over the globe. And what better than to be visit some of the most majestic churches with extraordinary Christmas masses!
1. Pray with the Pope: Christmas in St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City
Its Christmas Eve, you are in Vatican City, spirituality has teamed up with the festivity and you can feel the warmth spreading within you. Enter Papa and you can imagine how enormous the Christmas Eve mass will be. The Pope addresses the people on the Christmas Eve from St. Peters Basilica and it is a great pleasure to hear him speak on this special occasion.
It was Pope Franciss first Christmas at the Vatican as a Pope last year and in his address to the pilgrims, described virtues like courage, love and forgiveness. Pope Francis is said to be a surprise by many Vatican analysts and we cant wait to hear what he has to say this year!
It is recommended to get the free entry passes well in advance as this Christmas Eve mass receives crowds from all over the world
2. Christmas at the Birthplace of Jesus: Church of Nativity, Bethlehem
Imagine being right at the very place where the son of god was born. Church of nativity is considered to be the exact site of the birth of Jesus Christ. Originally commissioned in 327 AD, the structure today is dark and cold having a magical magnetism to it. Christmas is celebrated here on 7th of Jan-according to the orthodox observance and the Christmas Eve mass is conducted in the adjoining St Catherine of Alexandria. An X-mass on the cave where Jesus was born, Goosebumby, isnt it!
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3. A Roman Catholic Christmas: Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Moscow
The largest Roman Catholic cathedral in Russia- the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary is jam-packed on the Christmas Eve. And as the holy priest exclaims the chant of Christ is born, the joy on the faces of the people makes you join them instantly. Visit the best things to do in Moscow, once you are here.
4. A French Christmas at Notre Dame De Paris
Undoubtedly one of the most outstanding church buildings around the world, needless to say the Christmas Eve will be a memorable experience. The crowds are huge and be as early as possible for getting a seat. There are also some special performances prior to the midnight mass which are beautiful to watch. The special enormous bell dearly named Emmanuel rings when the clock strikes midnight and the reverberations can be heard throughout the Ile de la Cit and the Latin Quarter.
The enchanting choir singing merrily, the harmonious organ playing in the background and the enormous ten bells ringing in synch will leave you overwhelmed, even if you are not a catholic.
Explore Paris like an insider, check out this Paris itinerary for 5 days
5. A Londony Christmas at Westminster Abbey
This royal peculiar is a burial ground of nobles, a coronation venue, a royal wedding location, an appealing church and one of the most important historical buildings in London. Attending a Christmas mass here is a big affair; given the fact that over 12,000 worshippers gather here on the Christmas Eve.
An advance booking for free tickets is recommended if you want to attend this brilliant service and go all O Come All Ye Faithful with the angelic choir.
6. Icy Christmas at Hallgrmskirkja, Reykjavk, Iceland
From the old to the new, the reason for recommending this marvellous church as a place to be on Christmas Eve is its bravura construction. This aesthetically diverse church is the largest church of Iceland and though it has minimalistic interiors, you can go to the top to have a panoramic view of the city. Christmas Eve brightens up this church with pretty lights and the 15 meter long organ playing boosts the Christmasy atmosphere!
7. La Misa Del Gallo- Midnight Mass: Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar, Barcelona
Apart from the alluring Christmas illuminations and the dazzling Christmas market, there is one more thing that adds to the awe of celebrating Christmas in Barcelona; the citys La Misa Del Gallo- the midnight mass. You can attend this charming service on Christmas Eve at Santa Maria Del Mar-a magnificent 14th century basilica. The Basilica also hosts classical, gospel and ballet Christmas concerts including wonderful performances of Handels Messiah.
You can hear the melodious El cant de la Sibilla just before the midnight and it definitely paves way to a great Christmas!
This Christmas Eve, go places! Pray at any of these exclusive destinations and celebrate Christmas with a Zest!
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