Expats in UAE celebrate Christmas in diverse denominations

Published:  25 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: Italy, UAE
As Kuwait’s new government takes its seat, the UAE as a whole is now gripped by the Christmas spirit.

Given that expats in general are far more numerous in the UAE than locals, it’s no surprise that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in the emirates. Churchgoers are singing the old favourites such as ‘Silent Night’, choirs are working their way through the entire popular repertoire of carols including recent additions such as ‘Joy to the World’ and kids are dressed up as mini Santa look-alikes.

Christian churches representing various denominations across the emirate are crammed with worshippers from a variety of nationalities, with the popular Roman Catholic version of the Nativity story one of the most popular. Masses were held in 16 diverse expat languages, including Italian, Polish, Spanish, Urdu, Korean, Hindi and Arabic and, for once, all nationalities represented celebrated as one nation.

In the UAE, around a million expatriates are Christian, with the vast majority following the Roman Catholic doctrine as well as a good number of Eastern Christians and those continuing the Orthodox Christian tradition. This diverse mix of denominations demonstrates the fact that Christmas in the UAE is a massive symbol of tolerance, giving, compassion and connecting with strangers as well as friends and family whilst sharing the celebration of one of humanity’s most significant moments.

Whatever the UAE’s huge expat community feels about its position in the Arab States, one thing’s for sure in that all can freely express their individual faith and attend its places of worship without fear. Christmas in this multicultural region is a festival of joy and spirituality in which everyone is welcome to express their individual belief and none are harmed or excluded as a result.
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