Today is the Christmas Day, the birthday of Jesus Christ, first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader.
The Christians of different groups in Bangladesh and elsewhere across the world will celebrate the day amid festivity and religious fervor.
They will celebrate 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 ongoing pandemic, all are requested to celebrate the day by maintaining health rules.
The day is a public holiday.
In separate messages, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted members of the Christian community on the occasion.
They called upon the members of the Christians community to celebrate the holy day maintaining proper health guidelines.
In his message, President Hamid called upon the countrymen to abide by the health rules although the present situation of the pandemic is in control after the relentless efforts of the government.
The incumbent government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is successfully dealing with the pandemic situation in Bangladesh, in line with her 31-point directives, time-befitting and tireless efforts in this connection, President Hamid mentioned.
The head of the state 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 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.
“Instead of earthly life, 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 trouble-torn world and in establishing 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 happy-prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla (Golden Bangladesh)’, being imbued with the spirit of the great Liberation War.
As the COVID-19 infection has currently made the whole world very upset, she urged everyone to celebrate Christmas this time by maintaining health rules, including the social distancing.
“Let’s pray that the Great Creator makes our country and nation free from this lethal disease,” the prime minister added.
Noting that religion belongs to the respective individuals while festivals are for all, Hasina said: “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 remain still immortal in the human history.
Greeting the countrymen, specially the Christians, on this occasion, the premier wished all citizens peace, welfare and prosperity.
On the holy day, churches in the capital will be illuminated while 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 will distribute sweets and gifts 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 will publish special articles highlighting the importance of the Christmas.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private radio stations and TV channels will air special programmes marking the festival.