Dhaka – Muslim majority Bangladesh celebrates the Christmas, greatest religious festival of the Christians commemorating the birth of Jesus, amid festivity.
It is the celebration of rebirth, new beginning, forgiveness and peace, and renewing relationship with God and human beings, according to the Christianity.
This year’s celebration get extra colour in Bangladesh iwith Pope Francis creating one of the 17 cardinals from the Muslim-majority South Asian country. In November, Archbishop of Dhaka Patrick D’Rozariowas made a member of the elite body that advises and elects popes.
Most of the churches in Bangladesh are illuminated besides the lighting of Christmas trees. The day is being celebrated through special prayers at the Churches, distribution of gifts among the children and exchange of pleasantries.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted the Christian community in Bangladesh on the occasion of the celebration. The day is a public holiday.
Hamid accorded a reception to the members of the Christian community at the Bangabhaban in Dhaka in the morning.
The security has been beefed up at different strategic points in the capital and many other places of the country to ensure peaceful celebration of the festival.
The President in a message called for further consolidating the tradition of religious harmony in Bangladesh saying Jesus Christ had invited the derailed people to the path of truth and justice.
The path of salvation lies in love, services, forgiveness, compassion and sympathy, he said adding that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony where the people are tied with the bond of love and friendship.
He lauded the contribution of the Christian community to the development of education and society. The President called upon all to work together to build a happy, prosperous and non-communal Bangladesh.
Hasina, in her message, called upon the people irrespective of caste, creed and religions to come forward to expedite the development activities of the country.
“One of the goals of Jesus Christ was to establish justice and peace in the world to make an exploitation-free society,” she said.
Hasina hoped that the Christmas will further strengthen the relations between the Christians and the people of other communities.
Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar along with private TV channels and radio stations are airing special programmes while national dailies publish supplements highlighting the day’s significance.
Former Bangladeshi prime minister and also Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia has also greeted the community on the occasion.