KUCHING: The tenth Kuching Christmas Parade last night was a delightful profusion of both religious and traditional festive imagery.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as well as a host of balloon-winged angels, were just at home here as multiple true-blooded Sarawakian Santas and herds of tropical reindeer people mushing across wet roads, heading in the direction of the city centre.
At a casual glance, this crowd was more sizeable than last year’s turnout. Organisers had hoped to hit the big 10,000 to celebrate their 10th parade, and from the look of it, they very likely have earned the fifth digit last night.
People on foot, bicycles, motorised unicycles and scooters took nearly an hour to clear Kuching City South Council (MBKS) Jubilee Ground, after a round of praise and worship, and prayers from various Christian denominations.
Christmas floats from various churches rolled out after them at interval. The designs lit up the streets with their creativity. There were sleighs with reindeer, the nativity scene that managed to be both larger-than-life and extremely cute.
The streets of Kuching were filled with song and music as over 7,000 singers belted out the festive tunes, six brass bands from the Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade kept the spirits high. These were punctuated by street performances by shofarists, native drummers, tambourine dancers and more. Members of the parade also gave away Christmas gifts to members of the public who turned out to watch in large numbers.
With the theme ‘God So Loved The World’, the parade aims to spread the message of peace and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with the people of Kuching.
The Kuching Christmas Parade was organised by member churches of Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), which comprises the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Methodist Church, Sarawak Baptist Church, BEM (SIB) Church, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, The Salvation Army and Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship.
The Kuching Minister’s Fellowship comprises of Blessed Church, Good News Fellowship, Sarawak Grace Church, Bethany Church, Hope Church Kuching, City Harvest Church and Amazing Grace Church. All participated in this event.
Meanwhile in Miri, about 45,000 people from 15 churches and members of the public thronged the Miri City Fan for a similar Christmas parade last night.
The annual Christmas procession started off in Sibu in the 1970s. Sibu will hold its procession on December 12.
It is one of the symbols of unity that has remained a unique and colourful celebration that can only be found in Sarawak. It not only brings Christians of different denominations together, it also gathered Sarawakians irrespective of race and religion, to share the love and peace with one another.
Christians in most major towns also parade the streets and sing carols as they host respective processions.