People get together with loved ones on Christmas to pray for peace, harmony and prosperity in the coming year.
The festive spirit gripped the country on Wednesday, as people got together with loved ones on Christmas to pray for peace, harmony and prosperity in the coming year.
Several residents that Khaleej Times caught up with, especially children, said their wish to Santa is to end the suffering of children in Syria, Philippines, and other areas, where people are grappling with the aftermath of disasters — both natural and man made.
Eight-year-old Julian Duff, a British expatriate, said: “My mother said that we should always pray for people who are in need. So my wish to Santa is that children everywhere must be happy.”
Julian’s parents’ got him a brand new battery operated race car and clothes on Christmas eve.
People were also seen crowding at shopping malls, completing last minute shopping. Some residents said they miss celebrating with their family members back in their home countries.
Melanie Donohue, an Irish national, said: “I miss my family and the Christmas weather back home. But Dubai so far has been great as well. You can buy pretty much everything that you usually get back home. I just finished a whole lot of last minute shopping and am heading back home for some turkey and other delicious Christmas goodies.”
Sharjah resident and school teacher Seena Japeth said: “We miss our relatives back home. Here we celebrate more with friends than with our family. There was a hearty Christmas meal; we shared cake with our friends.”
Indian national, Cherian V, said: “There is a wonderful spirit in the air and Christmas is mostly about spending quality time with friends and family members, which is exactly what we try and do. Our kids need to know the importance of tradition and spending time with family. This is one of the ways in which we can remind kids of family values.”
An evening at the church
Roses outside St Mary’s Catholic Church in Oudh Metha were being sold by the dozen on Christmas. Muthu, a rose-seller stationed at the Church, told Khaleej Times that he sold about 100 stems of pink and red roses by the afternoon of the 25th. The roses were bought and placed at the foot of the barn inside the church premises, constructed with hay and gunny sacks and a small toy figure of baby Jesus.
Multiple counters were bustling with people buying 2014 calendars with photos of Mother Mary and Jesus, Bibles, Novenas and prayer beads.
On Tuesday afternoon at 3.30pm, the church held a mass for the old and sick. Carol singing took place from 11.30pm onwards.
The mass itself had a packed audience. In the main hall, at least 30 rows of pews tightly accommodated hundreds of worshippers singing hymns. Loudspeakers in the compound carried the voices of the hymns outside.
People were dressed in their Christmas-best and were seen posing for photos. Office-goers were present too. They were either given the day off or availed of one to spend Christmas with families, eating festive food. It was a merry Christmas indeed.