DHAKA, Dec 25, 2016 (BSS) - The holy Christmas, the biggest religious festival of the Christian community, was celebrated in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the world today with a call to further strengthen the tradition of communal harmony in the country.
According to Christian faith, the Xmas is the celebration of rebirth, new beginning, forgiveness and peace, and renewing relationship with God and human beings.
Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ on the day, which is a public holiday in Bangladesh and the most other countries of the world.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages by greeting the members of the Christian community.
This year's Christmas celebration in Bangladesh got extra colour as Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Patrick D'Rozario, the highest ranking priest of the Roman Catholic Church in the country, as a cardinal, the first ever from the country.
Pope Francis on November 19 promoted D'Rozario and 16 other Roman Catholic prelates from around the world to the rank of cardinal.
The Christians in Bangladesh celebrated the Xmas festival with huge enthusiasm and religious fervor and holding special prayers, illuminating churches and installing makeshift Xmas trees at homes and places of worship and missions.
Ringing of church bells in the midnight marked the advent of the day when the followers of the faith welcomed it with carols assembling in churches and other such venues.
Churches and adjoining areas were decked out with colourful tiny blinking lights, while illuminated Christmas trees placed with a star standing right on top as elder people of the community attired in the outfit of Santa Claus made fun with children and distributed gifts as part of a universal Christian practice.
The security was beefed up at different strategic points in the capital and many other places of the country to ensure peaceful celebration of the festival.
President Abdul Hamid hosted a reception for the members of the Christian community at Bangabhaban in Dhaka this morning.
Talking to media after exchanging greetings with the members of the Christian community, the President urged all to play an effective role from their respective position in further strengthening the tradition of communal harmony in the country.
"Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony ... the people of the country have been tied with love and harmony from time immemorial and we all have to play an effective role in further strengthening this tradition of harmony," he said.
Abdul Hamid also called upon all to work together with a view to building Bangladesh as a happy, prosperous and secular country.
Cardinal Patrick D' Rozario, ambassadors and representatives from different foreign missions, distinguished persons of the Christian community, religious leaders and professionals joined the reception.
A group of singers performed the Christmas carol at the reception. Later, the President cut a Xmas cake with members of the Christian community.
Muslim-Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Sampriti Parishad staged a rally and human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club here this morning to strengthen inter-religion harmony
The national dailies published special articles on the Xmas, while Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private radio stations and TV channels broadcast special Christmas programmes.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)