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Covid fails to dampen spirit of Christians in Dubai

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In fact, better days are already here with the UAE’s admirable battle against the pandemic seeing the vaccine being rolled out this week.

For the large Christian community which calls the UAE, a ‘home’ away from home, it will be a strange Christmas this year due to Covid-19 pandemic. And while it is what it is, they are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, with hope and a prayer on their lips, for better days ahead.

In fact, better days are already here with the UAE’s admirable battle against the pandemic seeing the vaccine being rolled out this week.

And that has been a blessing as we near the end of an unforgettable year.

And while Christmas celebrations will be a bit subdued, Christians are thankful to be in a country that has led the way for its all-inclusiveness, when it comes to religion.

For Clifford Crasto, father of Dubai-based badminton star Tanisha, the junior India No.1 in doubles, it will be a quiet Christmas at home.

“We might go to the St.Mary’s church in Oud Metha tonight but we will be outside the gate. Churches in Dubai have cancelled gatherings and masses will be streamed online. The church gates are closed so worshippers will stand outside the gate and pray and offer their offerings. This is the only alternative we have, as of today,” said Clifford, who has been in Dubai for 22 years and runs a sports shop in Bur Dubai.

“Then we will spend Christmas day at home. Tanisha is doing her regular training. Other than that, there is nothing happening, as a social gathering. It will be a quiet Christmas at home. Some of my very close friends might visit as during Diwali and Eid, I always go and visit them. So, no big plans right now. We had planned to Khor Fakkan on Saturday but we cancelled that. But if everything eases out, we might go next month,” added the 52-year-old, who is from Mumbai.

Manoj C Thomas, who works as an Account Director, Marketing and Communications, is bracing for a different Christmas, with his small family.

“Well, everything in 2020 has been different, so will the festive season. We are getting ready for a Christmas with a difference and to welcome the New Year’s differently as well. Almost always, the Christmas feeling starts early with travel plans to India to celebrate with the parents and families back home. But this year, we are in Dubai and going to make the best of it,” said Manoj, who hails from Bengaluru.

“We have already decorated our home, put up a beautiful Christmas tree, the plans for gifts have never been so meaningful and price conscious, but yes, they are going to be special. We have visited a few Christmas markets with friends, we all love it and Dubai really sets the mood for the festive season. On Christmas Day, though it is just going to be us as a family, we are planning to prepare all the special delicacies and have a good gathering over zoom, for sure. Merry Christmas everyone and wishing you all a successful year ahead. Spread the cheer,” added the 41-year-old, who has been a Dubai resident for 16 years.

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