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  • » 12/27/2013, 00.00


    "Collective" Christmas for Christians, Hindus and Buddhists

    Christopher Sharma

    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.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In Nepal Christmas has become a "collective" festivity with Hindus and Buddhists joining Catholics and other Christians in celebrating 25 December.

    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.

    "Hinduism," 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 country.

    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.

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    See also

    20/12/2011 NEPAL
    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.

    09/01/2014 NEPAL
    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.

    01/04/2014 NEPAL
    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.

    18/04/2014 NEPAL
    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.

    13/04/2007 NEPAL
    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.

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