Manipur violence: ‘Christmas to be celebrated discreetly’, say churches

IMPHAL | Updated: 25 December, 2023 2:43 pm IST

IMPHAL: The festivity spirit in Manipur has been stifled with the collective call of church bodies to hold Christmas in a low-key manner in lieu of the ongoing ethnic conflict in the state.

Tangkhul Baptist Church’s Reverend, Khayaipam Khamrang, said that Christmas would be different this year. “While there will be community celebrations during our service on the evening of 24th and 25th morning, we’ve encouraged and requested our members not to indulge in lavish spending and grand feasting, instead use their resources to help those who are marginalised in the current crisis and those in need,” he said.

 

Provided the situation, many Christians have taken to caring for and giving back to the victims whose houses and properties were destroyed in the strife. Unlike previous years, a mild yuletide air envelopes the hill districts alongside a few pockets in Imphal valley.

The Reverend added that Christmas would be all about Jesus Christ and less about individuals. “With this they hope that celebrating Christmas this year will be about sharing, caring of others and less about ourselves, all in the names of Jesus Christ,” he added.

Thureisang Singlai, a devout Christian from Imphal, said that this Christmas was hampered by the conflict in the community. “Last year it was pretty amazing because all of us were united and celebrated as one. But this year due to the current situation we’re unable to have a grand festival. I hope all of us can come together as one and figure out a solution and live together in peace like before,” he said.

The strife’s impact has also hit gift outlets in the capital with one of them quipping, “We used to break brink point of sales during Christmas but this year we could sell only 25 per cent of what was sold last year. I hope the situation will improve soon.”

One of the gift outlets in the Imphal Valley

Extending its Christmas greetings, the Manipur Naga Youth Organisation (MYNO) expressed heartfelt wishes for peace among the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities. The Naga body urged everyone to build bridges of friendship to foster harmony across the state’s diverse culture.

Athot Keitang, MYNO’s president, affirmed the organisation’s commitment to promoting peace and goodwill, not just during the festive season but year-round.

A few days back, the All Manipur Christian Organization (AMCO) had called upon heads of denominational churches to celebrate Christmas in the spirit of peace, forgiveness, love and unity.

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