» 12/27/2013, 00.00
"Collective" Christmas for Christians, Hindus and Buddhists
On Christmas night, hundreds of people of all faiths attended Mass at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral. Compared to the past, this year Hindus and Buddhists also experienced the spiritual aspect of the celebrations. Christianity's non-discrimination attracts other communities.
- In Nepal Christmas has become a "collective" festivity with Hindus
and Buddhists joining Catholics and other Christians in celebrating 25
Unlike previous years,
people of other faiths have not only bought into the "consumer" side
the celebration, but have also honoured the birth of Christ by participating in
church Masses across the country.
On Christmas Night,
hundreds of people filled the pews of Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral, with
many others standing in order to attend mass. "In the eyes of God, no one
is abandoned and discriminated against. The grace of the Lord is open to anyone
who wants to live in accordance with God's life," parish priest Fr Robin Rai said
during the homily.
According to sociologist
Manohar Sharma, this very openness towards others attracts the faithful of
other religions to Christianity.
he told AsiaNews, "is full of
discriminatory practices. Hindus and Buddhists celebrate their festivals in a
very ostentatious way, even though most of them cannot afford it. In Nepal, thousands
of people are interested in Christianity because it is far from the
discrimination that prevails among Hindus."
Indeed, the country's
last census indicates that the Christian population is growing. According K.B. Rokaya,
a Protestant clergyman, about 7,000 new churches have opened up across the
In Nepal, 25 December
became a national holiday in 2008. Since
then, Christians have been able to exhibit images and sacred decorations in stores,
outside churches and homes.
The Christian Christmas in the Himalayas
National reconciliation among different groups of Nepalese society, peace and prosperity: these are the Christmas prayers this year. Despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists groups, the entire country is preparing for Christmas, as Christians and Hindus exchange greetings and gifts.
Hindu politician who converted to Christianity to fight for religious freedom
Chandi Rai, a recently elected Communist member of Nepal's constituent assembly, talks to AsiaNews about his conversion. Born into a family from the Kirat ethnic minority, he claims that true democracy can only exists with religious freedom.
Nepal's religious minorities tell government to be "secular" and not just support Hindus
Nepali authorities are spending millions on Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival, helping set up free accommodations for 10 million people. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are united in demanding equal treatment for all. Protestant leader slams the authorities for ignoring Christian demand for "land to turn to build a cemetery," something that "is not fair," he says.
Nepali Hindus and Buddhists also celebrating Easter
Many activities are being organised in the mountain nation to celebrate the Christian holy day. A priest at Kathmandu Cathedral hopes "that all the inhabitants of the country can share the Easter message, and that Easter will soon become a festivity for all faiths and communities". Thousands of cards and e-messages are exchanged for the occasion.
Muslim minority wants quotas in parliament and civil service
Muslims claim that despite the end of the theocratic monarchy Nepal remains a Hindu state. They want guarantees and quotas for their minority. Members of other minorities agree. For them it is essential that Nepal become a secular state.
Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda
In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution
Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.
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