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Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 28.01.2007:

At the end of the Turkish rule a midwife delivered the baby at home because there were no hospitals. In 1840 the first hospital in Bethlehem, the French Hospital, was built. After that some preferred the birth to be performed in the hospital. The family and relatives anxiously and joyfully await the hour of birth, most often praying to God that the baby is a male.

During the British Mandate, the country prospered, progressed and flourished, and the number of women giving birth in hospitals increased.

* The blue bead is hung on the child’s breast to ward off the evil eye.

* The cognomen (Father of So-and-So: It is familiar not only in Bethlehem but in all parts of the Arab World) that a father will be called after the name of his first son who is generally named after his grandfather in respect and reverence to the father who may be called “Oh, Abu George” or “Abu Elias”… etc. In many cases the cognomen will be given to a bachelor as a good omen that he will one day father a son.

Source:”Bethlehem, The Immortal Town” by Giries Elali

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