The Christian community in the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk announced the cancellation of all public celebrations of Christmas as a sign of sympathy with those killed in the anti-government protests in Iraq.
Christmas is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar. The giving and receiving of presents, family gatherings and decorating Christmas trees are common practices at this time of year.
Ninos Rami, a Christian resident of Kirkuk, says the church has cancelled all Christmas celebrations this year, and they will only attend Christmas mass at the church.
“No festivities will be included. After attending the mass, we will pray for those fell in the recent protests across the country. We will pray for peace and end of bloodshed.”
Iraq has been witnessing violent protests over the past three months. According to figures released by the Iraqi commission for human rights, so far 500 people had been killed and 27 thousand others injured during the protests.
A source from the churches of Kirkuk who spoke to KirkukNow on condition of anonymity said, “It has been decided that all Christmas and New Year celebrations would be cancelled out of respect for protesters and security personnel killed or wounded in recent protests.”
A sign put In front of Kirkuk’s Sacred Heart Church said, no celebrations and no reception would be held at the church.