The Sri Lankan Army and Catholics have come together to organise activities to celebrate Christmas in the northern part of the country, especially those areas still recovering from war. Christian priests and nuns as well as Buddhist monks took part in a number of events marking the birth of Jesus, the ‘Prince of Peace’, like carols, dances, gift giving and help and attention for the neediest of their fellow men and women. Army officials stressed the aspect of “forgiveness” of the celebration, an important gift brought by Christianity.
The rector of St Joseph College, Fr Sylvester Ranasinghe, explained the Christian message, stressing the importance of recognising the symbols of Christmas in today’s society and live our lives accordingly.
The Interreligious Foundation for National Harmony and the Child Foundation for Ethnic Harmony were behind another event that took place on 11 December at Jaffna’s Methodist church.
“Many people took part in the evening’s function,” Fr Sarath Hettiarachi, president of the Interreligious Foundation for National Harmony, told AsiaNews. “They included 500 Buddhist monks, Sinhalese visitors, the Gampaha Methodist Church Choir as well as some Muslim and Hindu religious leaders.”
Soldiers and a large group Tamil came together. This, the priest said, “is the first time in almost 30 years of civil war that Christmas is celebrated in Jaffna this way, all this in the name of national harmony.”