Hundreds of people gathered in Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas in the city believed to be holy by Christians, Muslims and Jews alike.\r\nThe celebrations began on Tuesday, with the Church of Nativity hosting Palestinian dignitaries and pilgrims for a midnight Mass in the town believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.\r\nUniformed scouts from different Christian denominations accompanied the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa as he walked to the Church of the Nativity on Wednesday, only stopping to greet the crowd of people awaiting his arrival.\r\n\r\n\r\nPierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, kisses the head of an elderly Palestinian man in the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSaher Kawas, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem said the Christmas parade was an annual tradition that many looked forward to seeing every holiday season.\r\n\u201cThis Christmas procession is one of many anticipated events in the Holy Land, that gathers not only Catholics but Christians from all denominations,\u201d Kawas said.\r\nDressed in their holiday best, residents and visitors alike gathered in the city\u2019s streets to watch the parade and sing along to carols played by the scouts\u2019 marching band, Kawas said.\r\n\r\n\r\nPalestinian scouts perform during a parade at the Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEarlier this month, Palestinians and tourists flocked to Manger Square to witness the much-anticipated\u00a0Christmas tree lighting ceremony.\r\n\r\n\r\nPalestinian Christians celebrate the lighting of a Christmas tree outside the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AP)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAccording to Kawas, on Christmas day, Palestinian families often visit \u2018The Shepherds Fields\u2019 church, where a fire is lit, and the story of Christmas is told.\r\nKawas said that a tradition among these families is to visit relatives and hand out Ma\u2019amoul \u2013cookies made from semolina and are filled with either dates or pistachio.\r\nIsrael on Sunday reversed a ban\u00a0preventing Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip from visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Movement out of the Gaza Strip is tightly restricted with Israeli authorities often refusing to issue entry permits to Palestinians leaving the territory.\r\nIsrael\u2019s military liaison office, known as COGAT, on Sunday announced on Twitter that its director has \u201cextended the travel facilitations for the Christian population of Gaza for the Christmas holiday.\u201d\r\nHowever, Kawas told Al Arabiya that permits are often only granted to a small number of people who apply for them.\r\nChristmas festivities are important for Christians in Palestine, Kawas said, \u201cespecially during periods of wars, conflict and unrest.\u201d\r\n\u201c[The holidays are] the time in which we wait and prepare to receive the Prince of Peace. For me, [Christmas] is a reminder that there is no peace without justice and there is no justice without peace. But to have peace and justice, we need to work on them,\u201d he added.