Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila celebrated Christmas depicting unity in diversity
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila celebrated Christmas at the Sri Lanka Residence on 21st December 2019 focusing on the theme of communal harmony depicting the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of the country.
Religious leaders representing the four major beliefs, the Sri Lankan community and the Filipinos comprising the friends of Sri Lanka were invited to participate in the event. The event was aimed to promote understanding and tolerance among people of diverse cultures, beliefs and origin in pursuit of peace.
In line with the Christmas message of reaching out, the Embassy invited the Children’s Joy Foundation Inc., an organization which advocates for the welfare of poor, neglected and destitute children, to join hands with the Sri Lankans in commemoration of the holiday.
Christmas is an important religious festival celebrated in the Philippines with over eighty-five percent of the population being Catholics. The Embassy celebrated the occasion with the goal of extending bonds of friendship and promoting people to people interaction in sustaining cordial bilateral relations between the nations.
The event commenced with the singing of the national anthem followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamp. Thereafter, a Catholic rite and prayer was officiated by Fr. Maximus Pushpakumar. In his message, he reiterated the true meaning of Christmas with emphasis on the virtues of charity and humility.
In her remarks, Ambassador Shobini Gunasekera highlighted that the celebration of Christmas focuses on its real meaning and spirit: peace, love and compassion which is a universal message not only grounded in Christianity but also propagated by other religions.
She also conveyed that there are more reasons in common for people to unite than divide and requested both Sri Lankans and Filipinos to work together to find opportunities for development and prosperity of the two countries.
Inspirational messages depicting the true message of the festival were also delivered by other religious leaders representing the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim clergy.
Afterwards, the Embassy staff, together with their families, serenaded the crowd with their rendition of carols in English and Sinhala, followed by the special performance of the representatives of the Children’s Joy Foundation and Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple. The program was concluded with the arrival of “Santa Claus” who distributed gifts and candy to audience with Sri Lankan food and delicacies being served to the invitees.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
23 December 2019