Kerala celebrates Christmas with pomp, enthusiasm

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Christmas celebration at Kannur Burnassery Holy Trinity Cathedral church | Latheesh Poovathur

Thiruvananthapuram: The Christian community in Kerala on Sunday celebrated Christmas with traditional fervour, pomp and enthusiasm with some senior bishops and priests highlighting issues like the plight of fisherfolk at Vizhinjam, the buffer zone and sectarian activities in the state, in their midnight mass.

The festive spirit started with the midnight mass, which was held in churches across the state, where bishops and priests delivered the Christmas message to their respective congregations.

While Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis led the midnight mass at the St Mary's Cathedral of Syro Malankara Catholic Church in the state capital, Cardinal Mar George Alanchery of Syro Malabar Catholic Church conducted the service in Kochi.

In his Christmas message, Alanchery said if people give in to sectarianism and stay away from each other, "it would harm them only".

"We all are supposed to stand together united and in harmony," he said.

He also highlighted the plight of the fisherfolk, who were still living in godowns, despite the Vizhnjam protest seeking, among other demands, their rehabilitation.

"They will be celebrating their Christmas in those godowns this year too," Alanchery said.

Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, Thomas J Netto, in his Christmas message also referred to the plight of the fisherfolk who had protested at Vizhinjam against the under-construction sea port.

"We should remember those living in godowns in the name of development," he said.

The prevailing buffer zone issue and the concerns of the people, especially those living in forested and high range areas of the state, were highlighted by Remigiose Inchananiyil, Bishop of Thamarassery Diocese in Kozhikode district, in his Christmas service.

"People are living in fear that they will be evicted from their homes," he said.

Meanwhile, the festivities began very early in the day for Christians with feast related preparations getting underway right from the wee hours of the morning.

People decorated their homes with bright, colourful lights and a Christmas tree to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and attended church in the morning.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having abated to a great extent, devotees attended church without any restrictions unlike the previous two years. PTI

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