KUALA LUMPUR: Christmas was celebrated cheerfully today with open houses held across the country.
In the federal capital, churches were crowded with Christians, including foreign nationals attending services, especially the midnight mass.
The St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sentul was one of the churches that drew a sizeable crowd, including foreigners working here celebrating Christmas with their friends and local residents.
For Christians, it was a time to come together and eat together after holding services in the church, while non-Christians made use of the public holiday to relax at recreational centres with their families.
Myanmar national Steven Mangpi, 30, who is a United Nations High Commission for Refugees cardholder said: “I have been living in Malaysia for nine years and this is the third year I am celebrating Christmas at St Joseph’s Church, Sentul.
“Compared to other churches around Kuala Lumpur, the church conducts the service in the Burmese language and is attended by many Myanmar nationals,” he said.
A Cambodian migrant worker who wanted to be known only as Monica, 33, said Christmas this year was celebrated joyously with gratitude, though she was away from home.
In KLANG, some 2,000 Christians, including about 700 to 1,000 foreign migrants, gathered at the Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church for Christmas mass.
Johnson Kaudon, 28, from Sabah, when met at the church said he was grateful to be part of a group of 20 people to build the crib for the church’s 90th anniversary in 2018.
In PERAK, Christians attended services as early as 6am at St Michael’s Church, Ipoh. Parents also took advantage of the long weekend holiday to take their children to the popular Lost World of Tambun theme park here.
In MELAKA, it was a merry, colourful Christmas, especially in Ujong Pasir where the Portuguese Settlement is located, and in Bandar Hilir. Several shopping complexes were decorated with twinkly, bright coloured lights and decorations.
In PENANG, about 2,000 visitors, including those celebrating Christmas did not miss the chance to get a feel of the celebration at Occupy Beach Street.
Occupy Beach Street event manager Wing Xing Por said it was in conjunction with the third anniversary celebrations of Occupy Beach Street, where visitors could also enjoy the “snow” and the appearance of Santa Claus to cheer up the atmosphere.
In TERENGGANU, many Christians went to the Presbyterian Church in Jalan Air Jernih, Kuala Terengganu, for early morning services.
In KEDAH, the mesmerising Christmas decor at Aman Central shopping centre drew many visitors, allowing them to recapture nostalgic Christmas memories.
In SABAH, about 2,000 people of various races attended the Christmas open house hosted by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) at the Hongkod Koisaan, Kadazandusun Murut Cultural Association Hall in Penampang.
Among the VIPs there were Deputy Chief Minister Yahya Hussin and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili.
In SARAWAK, many attended early morning services held in churches in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
In Kuching, the St Joseph’s Cathedral and St Thomas’ Cathedral in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg were crowded with Christians attending morning services.
Meanwhile, among the interesting activities organised by the World Arts Convention in celebrating Christmas were the “Let’s Light Up the Christmas Unity Lights” event, face painting, and a photography booth operating from last week to next Sunday. - Mkini