by Saif-ullah Bashir
Amid a biting cold wave in the Kashmir, the Christian community of the valley on Wednesday celebrated the Christmas; the birthday of Jesus Christ, with zest and gaiety in Srinagar.
All the churches were illuminated and decorated for the occasion. The Christians attired in colourful dresses exchanged greetings with each other, distributed sweets and offered special prayers.
The mass prayers celebrations at Srinagar’s Holy Family Catholic Church, a Roman Catholic Church located at Maulana Azad Road, began in the morning and ended up around 3:00 pm.
Kashmir has one of the oldest Churches located in Gulmarg started by the British services personnel in pre-1947 era. It was renovated by the government a few years back. Normally the Western skiers stationed in the picnic spot go for Christmas celebrations there.
The church was decorated with colourful buntings and balloons, the devotees attending the celebrations prayed for the communal harmony, love for humanity and compassion for all living inside the valley.
“We are waiting for this day for full year. It is a day of happiness” a devotee said.
“We decorated our houses. Prepared tasty dishes and invite our relatives to our home,” said David.
“Jesus will fulfil our wishes and will fill our life with happiness”. Said Suzey with a smile.
In anticipation of the Christian festival, Lt governor had extended greetings to the religious minority. Unlike Kashmir, Jammu has more numbers and the festival is colourful and comparatively widespread.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Farooq Khan reiterated that the teachings of Jesus Christ are more relevant in present turbulent world.
An official spokesman said that he made these remarks while attending Christmas celebrations at St Mary’s Cathedral Church, Gandhi Nagar Jammu.
On the occasion, the Advisor extended his wishes to the people and prayed for peace, progress and prosperity of J&K and the nation. He said Christmas is a festival of life and celebrates the oneness of humanity irrespective of religion.
The Advisor also met Bishop Ivan Pereira and other functionaries of the Church and conveyed the Christmas greetings of Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of J&K, GC Murmu.
During the interaction, the Advisor said that Jesus Christ came for the whole humanity and his teachings have remained relevant for all the eras and more appropriate in present troubling times.
The Advisor also toured the Church and witnessed Christmas celebrations and interacted with the people there including children.
The Church functionaries appreciated and thanked the Advisor for his visit.
Later in the evening, Advisor Khan also attended the Christmas celebration at St Paul Church, Wazarat Road.
On the occasion, the Advisor extended greetings to the Christian Community and also interacted with the Church functionaries, said an official spokesman.