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Iraqi Christians Celebrate Christmas in Kurdistan

Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan were determined to keep their Christmas Christian traditions, even though attacks from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda have decimated the population.

The Royal Ankawa Hotel advertised Christmas buffets and celebrations, which included a visit from Santa Claus.

The Royal Ainkawa Hotel advertises a Santa visit.

The Royal Ankawa Hotel advertises a Santa visit.

The hotel also hosted a Christmas buffet.

The hotel also hosted a Christmas buffet.

The Erbil Rotana Hotel hosted a Kermesse event for the refugees in Erbil. A Kermesse event is a celebration “on the anniversary of the foundation of a church (or the parish) and in honour of the patron.” The hotel also held delicious buffets for the families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The Rotana held a Kermesse event for the refugee children, which included presents and games.

The Rotana held a Kermesse event for the refugee children, which included presents and games.

The Rotana also hosted a buffet and posted the recipe for their Christmas turkey on their website.

The Rotana also hosted a buffet and posted the recipe for their Christmas turkey on their website.

Iraq boasted a population of 1.3 million Christians in 1997, but now it only houses 650,000. Kurdish outlet Rudaw reported that “95 percent of Iraq’s Christians now shelter in the Kurdistan Region.”

Kurdistan’s Save the Children visited refugee children and handed out presents for Christmas.

Christians openly celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ across Kurdistan on December 24 and 25.

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani, along with other Muslim leaders, celebrated Christmas at the eastern Assyrian Church in the Ankawa neighborhood.

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