Abu Dhabi, Nov. 12, 2018: Thousands of believers are marking the annual harvest festival in churches across Abu Dhabi.
Expecting to host about 10,000 people in celebrations on November 16, one church has pledged to donate its collection from the fest to rebuilding the flood-hit Indian state of Kerala.
Mar Thoma Church Vicar Babu P Kulathackal 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 stall with live preparations. We are hoping for good sales as a sizable 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 November 16.
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 utilize the collection for church-oriented activities as the church is undergoing renovation,” he said.