Christians in Bangladesh and all over the world are celebrating Christmas, their largest religious festival, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ
However, the festivities are being held amid limited public gatherings due to the threat of COVID-19.
Prayers began at St Mary’s Cathedral Church in Kakrail at 8 am and ended at 9 am.
“May there be happiness, peace and prosperity among people of all religions and castes around the world. Let’s get rid of the coronavirus and keep the people of war-torn countries at peace,” said the priest at Cathedral Church in his prayer.
The golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has added a new dimension to the Christmas celebrations this year, it was said in the prayer meeting.
The festivities are less glamorous this year at the Cathedral Church due to the pandemic. No one is being allowed to enter the church without a mask. The masks were not taken off even during the prayer session.
The Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon started its prayer services at 7 am. After a break, it resumed again at 9 am and ended at 10 am, asking for peace and liberation from the coronavirus.
Several other churches, including St Christina Church in Mohammadpur and St Lawrence Church in Kafrul, have been decorated for the special occasion.
Christians usually start their celebrations on the eve of Christmas, decorating their houses and Christmas trees.
Many five-star hotels in Dhaka have made special arrangements to mark the occasion. The Christmas trees have been decorated with colourful lights. They have also organised a variety of programmes for children.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate Christmas messages to Bangladeshis.
“Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. Here people of all religions have been observing their respective religions and rituals independently,” said Hamid.
Hasina called for building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh by keeping the bonds of communal harmony intact.
“We will all celebrate this festival together, irrespective of religion. Our Constitution guarantees equal rights for people of all religions and castes. We have all answered Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s call and fought for Bangladesh’s independence. So this country belongs to all of us.”