Har­vest fest pro­ceeds to go to Ker­ala relief

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Ash­wani Ku­mar ash­wani@khalee­j­times.com

abu dhabi — Thou­sands of be­liev­ers are mark­ing the an­nual har­vest fes­ti­val in churches across Abu Dhabi. Ex­pect­ing to host about 10,000 peo­ple in cel­e­bra­tions next Fri­day, one church has pledged to do­nate its col­lec­tion from the fest to re­build­ing the flood-hit In­dian state of Ker­ala.

Babu P. Ku­lathackal, vicar of Mar Thoma Church, said this year’s har­vest fes­ti­val brings peo­ple of all ages to­gether for a no­ble cause.

“We have 1,600 fam­i­lies as fol­low­ers. We have 31 prayer groups and all of them will join with dif­fer­ent food items. There are 15 food stalls with live prepa­ra­tions. We are hop­ing for good sales as a size­able amount of Mar Thoma Church’s col­lec­tion will go towards re­build­ing Ker­ala. Each one of us is af­fected and we will all re­build a new Ker­ala,” he said. The church’s cel­e­bra­tions, which will also fea­ture cul­tural events, will be held in Mus­safah on Fri­day.

The har­vest fes­ti­val is a tra­di­tional event where peo­ple gather to feast on food made from fresh crops.

Last Fri­day, cel­e­bra­tions at St Ge­orge Or­tho­dox Cathe­dral in the Cap­i­tal saw some 12,000 to 13,000 peo­ple en­joy tra­di­tional food and mu­sic.

Yakob Mar Elias Met­ro­pol­i­tan, Brah­mavar dio­cese of In­dian Or­tho­dox Church, presided over the events at the cathe­dral. He thanked the UAE govern­ment for fa­cil­i­tat­ing such an event, which was also at­tended by Ker­ala’s for­mer chief sec­re­tary Jiji Thom­son.

There were around 80 stalls, in­clud­ing 50 for food, books and gro­ceries, among oth­ers.

Cathe­dral Vicar Benny Mathew said some 2,000 fam­i­lies, 20 prayer groups, youth as­so­ci­a­tions and oth­ers worked to­gether for months to or­gan­ise the event.

“It was a show of re­li­gious har­mony. It is im­por­tant to keep tra­di­tional events alive. We will utilise the col­lec­tion for church-ori­ented ac­tiv­i­ties as the church is un­der­go­ing ren­o­va­tion,” he said.

Thou­sands at­tended a cel­e­bra­tion at St Ge­orge Or­tho­dox Cathe­dral in the Cap­i­tal last Fri­day.

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