KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 – Christmas was celebrated merrily today with the tradition of prayers and visiting family and friends, which also serves to strengthen relations among the various races in the country. As usual, churches were crowded with Christians including foreigners attending the religious ceremonies since early in the morning, before they gather with family and friends at home, eat and be merry.
In Kuala Lumpur, the St. John’s Cathedral in Bukit Nanas and St Joseph Catholic Church in Sentul each drew a huge crowd for the religious ceremony. St. John’s Cathedral mass leader, Mark Ira said about 2,000 Christians started to throng the church as early as 7am before the religious ceremony began at 7.30 am for the annual celebration of the Christians.
“We gather together after the religious ceremony with everyone exchanging greetings and engaging in lively chats,” he told Bernama, here, today. German tourist Jonathan Edward, 35, said he could still feel the joyfulness of Christmas in Malaysia although there was no snow like in his home country.
“I can see that Malaysia is an open country with no religious celebration restrictions,” said Edward who has been in Malaysia since early this month. Cavina Lim, 26, said the Christmas celebration in the country was very special as it was celebrated by Malaysians regardless of their race and position.
“I’m from Petaling Jaya, and every year my family home will be a meeting place for some relatives living abroad to gather and we celebrate Christmas together,” she said when met at a shopping mall, here. In Malacca, Christmas was celebrated cheerfully, especially in Ujong Pasir and Bandar Hilir with several shopping complexes beautifully lit and decorated with colourful decorations.
The St. Peter’s Church, St. Francis Xavier’s Church and Christ Church were among the churches thronged by Christians, including foreign nationals working in the state to celebrate Christmas with their friends. The religious ceremonies were held from yesterday evening until this morning which were also attended by tourists from within and outside the country.
In Selangor, some 2,000 people of the Christian faith gathered at the iconic Our Lady of Lourdes (OLL) Church in Klang for the Christmas mass. Speaking to Bernama, OLL parish pastoral chairman Damian Prakash said this year’s Christmas celebration was more meaningful and unique as the church would be celebrating its 90th anniversary next year.
He said that he was proud of the diversity that the church had boosted since its inception in 1928 and this was evident from their multi-lingual preparation for the pre-anniversary celebration. In Kuching, Christians attended prayers at several churches, among them, the St Joseph’s Cathedral and St Thomas’ Cathedral in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, as well as held open house.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Datin Patinggi Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Haji Bujang attended the open house held by Bishop of the Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei, the Right Reverend Donald Jute at his residence in Jalan McDougall, here. — Bernama