A nativity scene set up at the Christmas Village of St George’s Orthodox Cathedral in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied photo)
Christmas in UAE: Register online to attend Dec 25 mass in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi - Other yuletide festivities — like singing carols and a Christmas village exhibition — are held virtually.
Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 12:44 PM
Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 12:48 PM
With nine days to go before Christmas, churches in Abu Dhabi have finished putting up decorations and started new-normal activities to make their parishioners feel the yuletide spirit even with Covid restrictions in place.
On Tuesday, Christmas trees were all aglow and nativity scenes had been set up. Other festivities — like singing carols and the Filipinos’ nine-day novena mass tradition — are going virtual this year.
Those who wish to be physically present for Christmas masses will have to register online as only a limited number of parishioners will be allowed at the churches in the Capital. For the majority, online mass services will be readily accessible on social media platforms.
Virtual Christmas village
St George’s Orthodox Cathedral in the Capital has set up a Christmas Village, with huge cribs depicting the different Biblical themes. The church will be broadcasting visuals of the Christmas Village live via their social media pages — for the benefit of elders, children and youngsters who cannot visit the church because of the precautionary measures.
“The parishioners have been asked to register online to gain entry. We have 1,500 families as parishioners but only 100 individuals can take part in a mass. So, a big number of the faithful, including children, will miss the festivities. So, we came up with the idea of a Christmas Village. By exhibiting the nativity scene in a special way, we can describe the Christmas story to our children,” said Vicar Father Benny Mathew.
St George’s cathedral will host an online Christmas carol termed ‘Aaraadhya’, scheduled to be held on December 25 from 6.30pm.
“The online carol was planned with our little kids in mind. All these events come as part of Gloria 2020, which is celebrated under the theme ‘Healing for the world and blessings to the UAE’. We pray for peace and prosperity for everyone,” Father Mathew added.
Bookings for mass now open
St Joseph’s Cathedral has officially opened bookings for the Christmas masses from December 24 to 26. However, a person can attend only one mass.
The cathedral has raised the number of services but reduced the capacity for each mass. Stringent precautionary measures shall be followed, and the faithful are urged to come at least 30 minutes prior to the mass schedules. Services will be held at St Joseph’s, St Therese and Parish Hall. Parishioners will not be allowed to pray outside the church.