- Title: WEST BANK: Christians and Jews mark religious holidays
- Date: 23rd March 2008
- Summary: CLOSE OF YOUNG GIRL SITTING AND HOLDING CANDLE
- Embargoed: 7th April 2008 13:00
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA9L8URMNQQ5XK9S80JOD810LHK
- Story Text: Christians and Jews marked their respective holidays on Saturday (March 22) at the West Bank, temporarily setting aside the tension between Israelis and Palestinians.
Hundreds topped to the Church of Nativity in the town of Bethlehem where Christians say Jesus was born for an Easter eve mass.
The Lenten holiday climaxes on Sunday with the celebration of Easter.
Jewish settlers also marked their own religious holiday on Saturday with the celebration of Purim - the most colourful feast in the Jewish calendar.
Around 350 settlers held a holiday parade in the Jewish neighbourhoods of the town under heavy security.
An Israeli army spokesperson said no unusual incidents were reported between the Jewish settlers and the Palestinian residents of the town.
Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of ancient Persian from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical book of Esther.
According to the story, Haman, an advisor to the Persian King Ahuasuerus, cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews.
Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, and marks the foiling of Haman's plot.
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