Today is the Christmas Day, the birthday of Jesus Christ, first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader.
The Christians of different groups in Bangladesh elsewhere across the world are celebrating the day amid festivity and religious fervor.
They are celebrating the day by offering special prayers, illuminating churches and installing makeshift Christmas trees at homes and places of worship and missions across the country.
Elderly people of the community, attired in the outfit of Santa Claus, usually make fun with children and distribute gifts among kids as part of a universal Christian practice.
But due to the pandemic COVID-19, the day is being celebrated in a limited scale maintaining health rules, including maintaining social distancing and wearing masks everywhere.
The day is a public holiday.
President M Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader in the Jatiya Sangsad Begum Rowshan Ershad, in separate messages, greeted members of the Christian community on the occasion.
They called upon the members of the Christians community to celebrate the holy day maintaining the health rules due to the outbreak of the second spell of the fatal disease Coronavirus that struck many world countries including Bangladesh.
In his message, President Hamid called upon countrymen to abide by the health rules to win the ongoing war coincided with the pandemic Coronavirus.
Terming the Coronavirus as the global epidemic one, he said this lethal disease has brought human civilization to the brink of an extreme catastrophe in history.
“Bangladesh is not out of it,” the head of the state added.
The incumbent government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is successfully coping with the prevailing Corona situation in Bangladesh, in line with her 31-point directives, time-befitting and tireless efforts in this connection, President Hamid mentioned.
He said Bangladesh is a shining example of communal harmony in the world and people of the country have been observing their respective religions, rituals and ceremonies independently for long.
He also urged all to consolidate the long-standing tradition of religious harmony in the country irrespective of religion, caste and position.
About Jesus Christ’s contribution to the society, Hamid said Jesus taught people in a peaceful position with love, compassion, forgiveness, affection, empathy and the establishment of justice.
“In the afterlife, Jesus Christ put emphasis on the importance of spiritual happiness through renunciation, restraint, and charity,” he opined.
President Hamid thought that the teachings and ideals of Jesus Christ are very relevant in establishing peace and harmony in a troubled-torn world, including the establishment of harmony and unity among nations.
The President called upon all to work unitedly to build a happy, prosperous and non-communal Bangladesh, envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, called upon the people irrespective of religion, caste and creed to unite for building a hunger-and-poverty-free and happy-prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla (Golden Bangladesh)’, being imbued with spirit of the Great Liberation War.
The premier said the COVID-19 infection has currently made the whole world very upset with the World Health Organization (WHO) calling the outbreak as a pandemic.
In this context, she urged everyone to celebrate Christmas this time by maintaining health rules, including the social distancing.
“Let’s pray that the Great Creator makes free our country as well as the nation from this lethal disease,” the Prime Minister added.
Noting that religion belongs to the respective individual while festivals are for all, Hasina mentioned that “In our constitution, equal rights of people of all religions and castes have been ensured.
. . We jointly fought to make Bangladesh an Independent state and religion is a safe haven for all people here.”
Sheikh Hasina said Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem on this day and one of his vows was to establish a society, free from exploitation by establishing justice and peace in the world.
The great Jesus, she mentioned, scarified himself for the poor and starving people while his ideal lifestyle and strict characteristic remains still immortal in the human history.
Greeting the countrymen, specially the Christians, on the occasion, the head of the government wished for peace, welfare and prosperity of all citizens.
In separate message, leader of the Opposition in the Jatiya Sangsad Begum Rowshan Ershad extended heartfelt greetings and congratulations to the country people, especially the Christians on the occasion.
She said the air of peace would spread in the lives of all people across the globe by forgetting communalism, violence and discrimination in the society.
“This religious festival will build solidarity among people of all faiths and strengthen the bondage of the world brotherhood,” the opposition leader hoped.
On the holy day, churches in the capital are being illuminated, Christmas trees set up and candles lit at homes and churches by the Christian community to celebrate the event amid religious fervour.
According to the tradition, Santa Clause is distributing sweets andgifts among children in churches on the occasion. This is a ‘great day’ for children in the Christian community, who sing carols on the occasion in praise of Jesus Christ and God, and exchange gifts.
The national dailies have published special articles highlighting the importance of the Christmas.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private radio stations and TV channels are airing special programmes marking the festival.