UAE: Ex-Indian cricketer Sreesanth to meet residents at church harvest festival in Abu Dhabi

51 stalls to be put up to commemorate UAE National Day and India’s 75 years of independence



Supplied photos
Supplied photos
by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 26 Nov 2022, 3:58 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Nov 2022, 5:15 PM

After a gap of two years, thousands of Christian expats in Abu Dhabi are gearing up to celebrate an in-person annual harvest festival – a traditional event marked with prayers and feast from fresh crops on Sunday.

St George Orthodox Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Abu Dhabi, is decked up with decorative light to mark the occasion. Yakob Mar Elias, the Metropolitan of Brahmavar Diocese under Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, has arrived from the Indian state of Kerala to preside over the function.

“This will be our 44th year of hosting the harvest festival. For the past two years, it was held virtually because of Covid-19 situation. So, this will be after a long gap that all our members will celebrate the occasion in-person at the church. It will be a special moment,” the Metropolitan told reporters during a press conference.

Commemorating India’s 75 years of independence and 51st UAE National Day, the Indian Orthodox Church will have 51 stalls during the festival.

“We will have 51 stalls, including 25 of them serving food. We are expecting up to 5,000 people throughout the festival from afternoon till night,” Father Eldho M Paul, St George Orthodox Cathedral, said.

Dr Balaji Ramaswamy, Counsellor, Indian Embassy Abu Dhabi, and former Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth will be part of the festivities. There will be stage shows, music, games, entertainment, home-made and organic food, and different varieties like Arabic and north Indian cuisines and popular ‘nellikai sharbat’ (gooseberry juice) etc.

Separately, Abu Dhabi Mar Thoma Church will host the festival in Musaffah on Sunday. The day will begin with a holy communion service at 8am with parish members offering fresh fruits and dishes to the church. By late afternoon, the festival will begin with a vibrant procession followed by programmes under the theme: ‘The Renewal of Life and the Joy of Salvation’ and celebration of the UAE’s National Day.

Vicar Jiju Joseph will preside over the function. There will be 40 food stalls inside the church compound with Kerala-based cuisine and a variety of other dishes. Apart from the food stalls, ‘Yuvajana Sakhyam’, the youth wing’s ‘Thattukada’ (roadside food cart), music, dance, short films, games and prizes to be won will be other highlights.

“The proceeds from the festival will be used for various social activities of the church,” Vicar Joseph said during a press conference.

Meanwhile, Church of South India (CSI) Parish Abu Dhabi held a harvest festival earlier this month, which saw great participation from its members. The festival was held in Mar Thoma Church premises. There were several stalls of home-cooked food, street food, live cooking, entertainment programmes for children and more, noted Lalji M Philip, Vicar CSI Parish Abu Dhabi.

The newly built CSI Church is expected to open soon in Abu Mreikhah, next to the UAE’s first traditional Hindu temple.

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