People advised against over-spending

ABU DHABI — Celebration of festivals is being increasingly commercialised. Markets take advantage of Eid, Christmas or Easter by offering tempting deals and promotions.

By Silvia Radan And Adel Arafah (Our staff reporter)

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Published: Sun 23 Dec 2007, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:20 AM

It is not unusual for a Christian family to book a Christmas holiday in a resort in the Maldives, for example, for a nice beach experience.

Church and mosque representatives are reminding people of all religions that expensive gifts and festive food is not harmful as long as they don’t take over their faith.

Dr Mohammad Mattar Al Ka’abi, Director-General of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Auqaf (GAIAA), has called upon people, with no bias towards any nationality or religion, to realise the actual meaning and real goals of the holy celebrations.

He pointed out that nowadays most people simply ignore the noble aims of the festivals.

“Extravagance and over-spending on some aspects of these celebrations, like eating, drinking, and clothing, in order to express pleasure is something unacceptable by God Almighty. Dedicating some of this money to charitable activities is much better than spending on useless ways,” said Dr Al Kaabi.

He also pointed out that this type of materialism might cause a community gap. “The revealed religions, whether Islam or Christianity, are aimed at remembering Allah (God) and spreading love, peace, happiness, and kindness among all people, not only the rich, but also the poor, the needy and the ill,” stressed Dr Al Kaabi.

As for the Eid itself, it is an opportunity for litigants to bury their hatchet, to forget and forgive.

Muslims should become more cooperative, tolerant, charitable and forgiving in such happy occasions, he stated.

Monsignor Paul Hinder, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia, based in Abu Dhabi, explained that religious holidays are celebrated by two types of people: the pious ones, who are still deeply marked by their faith; and the people who practise little, if at all, their religion.

Up to a point, the commercialisation of Christmas it is a normal activity, according to the bishop.

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