Today is the Christmas Day, the birthday of Jesus Christ.
The Christians of different groups in Bangladesh and elsewhere across the world will celebrate the day amid festivity and religious fervour.
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.
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 wished peace, welfare and prosperity to all citizens including Christians. In his message, President Hamid said Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony and people of all religions have been practicing their religions and rituals independently in this country for long.
Noting that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of building a non-communal Bangladesh, he urged all to work together for building a happy, prosperous and non-communal Bangladesh.
About Jesus Christ’s contribution to the society, the head of the state said Jesus taught people to be 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,” Hamid 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.
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.
Noting that religion belongs to the individuals while festivals are for all, the premier said: "In our constitution, equal rights of people of all religions and castes have been ensured ...The development of people of all classes, professions and communities is our main goal. To achieve this goal, we are working to ensure a dignified and safe life for the people of all communities."
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.
President M Abdul Hamid will host a reception for the Christian community leaders at Bangabhaban today, on the occasion of Christmas Day, the Christians’ festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
“The reception programme for the leaders of the Christian community will begin at 7 pm tomorrow at the Gallery Hall of the Bangabhaban,” President’s press secretary Md Joynal Abedin told BSS Saturday evening.
The head of the state is scheduled to exchange greetings with the representatives of Christian community leaders on the occasion.
As many as 30 guests were invited to the Presidential palace, the Bangabhaban spokesman added.
The State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haq Khan, lawmakers, secretaries concerned, some envoys and representatives from different foreign missions, distinguished persons of the Christian community, and religious leaders are expected to attend the reception.