Look: How Abu Dhabi's Christian expats celebrated Christmas in churches, homes

It was the 'sweetest ever' Christmas, say the community, as this marks the first time post the Covid-19 pandemic that festivities have not been restricted



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 5:04 PM

Last updated: Sun 25 Dec 2022, 8:51 PM

The Christian community in Abu Dhabi celebrated Christmas in the sweetest way this year, with many finding it extra special after over two years of restricted festivities.

“Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, and this festival was extra special because of in-person celebrations at homes and churches with families, friends and believers,” said Jomit Joy, who was part of a carol group which visited homes to usher in festive spirits.

“I was in the Holy Family Prayer Cell Baniyas. For the past two years our carols were performed online, so it was amazing to meet people in their homes, spread cheer and see smiles on their faces. There were carol competitions held with adults and children participating with zeal and fervour.”

Newlyweds Ebin Scaria and Anu Varghese are excited to be celebrating their first Christmas in the UAE
Newlyweds Ebin Scaria and Anu Varghese are excited to be celebrating their first Christmas in the UAE

“I went to church for the first time since the pandemic started. We all prayed for love, peace and harmony. It was a special feeling to share [the] festive spirit with thousands of other Christians at the church. And the [fact that this is the] first Christmas after my marriage has made it the most memorable ever,” said Scaria.

Anu, who recently joined her husband Scaria in Abu Dhabi, is surprised by the grand scale of the celebrations in the UAE.

“I am here in the country for the first time. The atmosphere at church was surreal and [immersive]. I didn’t really feel like [I was] missing any festivities back home. Now I realise why expatriates call this a second home,” said Anu.

“We celebrated as one big family. Also, we [were able to] attend church service without advanced booking or a capacity cap, and the faithful turned up in hundreds to celebrate the festival as one family. We prayed for a prosperous 2023, and remembered the poor and those affected by conflicts.”

Jomit underlined that the festival has brought people together, adding that she has made new friends too.

“This was a get-together after such a long time. It was like reliving the good old days. Since it [came] after [such] a long time, this Christmas was the sweetest and most memorable [ever],” Jomit added.

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