Christmas celebrated in Kashmir
Srinagar, Dec 25: Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ, was Friday celebrated in Kashmir with enthusiasm and religious fervour.
Scores of Christians gathered here at Holy Family Catholic Church and joined the special prayers. Throughout the day men, women and children thronged the church at Moulana Azad Road which was decorated with colourful buntings and balloons.
Delivering the sermon, Father Britto said the theme of today’s celebrations was to pray for peace, love and security in Kashmir. “Christmas is God becoming man purposely. God enters into the human so that darkness of his sins, mistakes and failures will be forgiven and divine life is again assured to each of him.” He said Christmas has become fest of everyone, adding, “I feel great about Kashmir. People from all communities join us here.”
Sameul Xalxo of Jharkhand said he was happy to celebrate the day in Kashmir. “I am happy to see the love and care given to us by the Kashmiri people, who are too caring,” he told Greater Kashmir. “People outside Kashmir are very apprehensive to the situation in the Valley but the scene is altogether different here. Christianity has its roots in Kashmir and people should come to celebrate such occasions here,” he said.
Many Muslims were seen greeting their Christian brethren outside the Church. “We came here to greet our Christian friends as they too greet us on occasions like Eid,” said Sobia Khursheed.
Rohit Kumar Toppo of Delhi, who has been coming to the Valley as a Christian missionary, said for the past two years the attendance at churches here was increasing. “Media has tarnished the image of Kashmir which has given a big setback to Kashmir tourism and its diverse culture,” he said.
David Escort of England, working in Software Park Rangreth, said some Hindu traditions had crept in the Christmas celebrations here. “But I find no difference in celebrating Christmas here as religion is same everywhere. I feel home away from home in Kashmir,” he said.
Altaf Baba adds from Varmul:
Christmas was celebrated with enthusiasm by the small Christian community in Varmul. A gathering was held at St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest Catholic Church in J&K.
The sunny day in the town brought great cheer on the faces of small kids who were seen wearing new winter clothes on the occasion. Lot of locals also greeted their Christmas friends.
As part of midnight celebrations, the chorus singing started at 10.30 pm. Amid cold, large number of community members participated in the midnight mass. Later special prayers led by Father Sabastain were held in the church.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Dec 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Dec 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 Dec 2009 00:00:00 IST
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