Israel has more holidays than most countries! Jewish national holidays, Christian and Islamic holidays are all celebrated. On most national holidays, attractions, public transportation, and stores are closed. While some holidays include a week-long period of special events in Israel.
The Jewish and Muslim lunar calendars mean different holiday dates each year. Jewish Israel holidays include Purim, celebrated by parades, and costume parties; Passover, when most stores stop selling bread for a week, and Chanukah, the festival of light. Independence Day is celebrated by street parties and fireworks.
Dairy products are eaten on Shavuot; Lug B’Omer is marked by bonfires, and on Sukkot, each family builds a temporary booth. September is the High Holidays, with Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, when everything closes in Israel, and there are no cars on the roads. On Holocaust Day businesses remain open, but there is a somber atmosphere.
Christian Holidays in Israel are celebrated mainly in Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jaffa, and Haifa. You can join the Palm Sunday Procession in Jerusalem, and attend Easter services at the country’s churches. Christmas is marked by a Christmas market in Nazareth, services in the Holy Sepulchre Church, and a midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Israel’s Muslim population celebrates Laylat al-Miraj, Muhammad’s Night Journey, at al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ramadan lasts a month, during which Muslims fast during the day, and eat after sundown. The three-day Eid ul-Fitr celebration marks the end of Ramadan and is celebrated in Jerusalem’s Old City Muslim Quarter, and in Muslim towns, like Umm al-Fahem. Eid al-Adha, Mawlid al-Nabi, and the Islamic New Year are celebrated in family homes and at mosques across Israel.