Many Christians that live in Bethlehem, the place of Christ’s birth, support themselves with olive wood carvings. These beautiful hand-made items are often seen at various Catholic parishes throughout the world, especially right before Christmas.
Traveling from the Holy Land, these Bethlehem natives display their wares in various churches in the United States and elsewhere, but, usually, only for a weekend. If you miss them, they’re gone.
However, you can still buy these lovely olive wood carvings anytime, if you venture online. For instance, there’s usually a good selection on Amazon.
Olive Wood Carvings from Bethlehem
Amazon carries olive wood carvings made by Zuluf, a company founded in 1978 and located in the community of Beit Sahour, in the eastern part of Bethlehem. Below, you can see a Zuluf olive wood Crucifix on the left, as well as a Rosary bead holder on the right.
At one point, I read on the Zuluf website that “Christian families totally depend on this industry.” When groups of Christians from Bethlehem travel outside the region, to speak at parishes, they also stress that sales of these carvings are very much appreciated. Here are a selection of beautiful Zuluf olive wood carvings from the Holy Land.
Olive Wood Carvings from the Holy Land
In addition to purchasing a beautiful piece of art, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping Christians now living in the Holy Land. You’ll also acquire a treasure from a tree mentioned often in the Bible. Nativity sets from Bethlehem seem to be among the most popular items sold by Zuluf. Here are three different styles of Nativity sets.
Olive Wood Carved Camels
If you travel to the Middle East, you will see camels and scenes that look almost as if they were pulled from Biblical times. Here is a beautiful hand-carved camel keychain also made by Zuluf.