KUCHING: Armed with umbrellas and caps, some 8,000 Christians from various churches all around the city converged on the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Jubilee Grounds for the annual Kuching Christmas Parade earlier this evening.
The weather had been poor the entire day, but that failed to dampen the spirit of the participants who began gathering at the grounds as early as 5pm, even when the rain was still pouring.
Some took shelter from the downpour at the grandstands, while others stayed inside their vehicles in the parking lot, waiting for the rain to abate.
The rain let up at around 5.30pm, giving participants a window to sort out their contingents and begin preparations in earnest for the parade, with Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii among them, joining his Good News Fellowship Kuching contingent.
“This is a very special event happening in Sarawak, where churches, regardless of denomination, even people, regardless of age and ethnicity, are united through our faith, through our spirit of Christmas, where we come together not just from different churches but as one body in Christ to celebrate this wonderful season of peace, love and also a season of giving,” he said.
Dr Yii said this was a good opportunity to show the rest of the country and to the world that Sarawakians lived in harmony and celebrated different faiths, while honouring one another.
“So I’m looking forward to even walking in the rain because the joy of the Lord is our strength and will guide us through all the circumstances,” he said.
A total of 15 participating churches throughout Kuching took part in the parade, which included the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Methodist Church SCAC, Methodist Church SIAC, BEM (SIB) Church, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, The Salvation Army, Sarawak Baptist Church, Sarawak Blessed Church, Grace Sentral Church AOG, Sarawak Grace Assembly Church Kuching, Hope Church Kuching, Good News Fellowship, City Harvest Church, Latter Rain Church Kuching and Fellowship of Evangelical Students (FES).
The parade proceeded from the Jubilee Grounds passing Jalan Padungan, Jalan Tun Abdul Rahim (waterfront), Lebuh Temple (Harbour View Hotel), Lebuh Wayang (Medan Pelita/Star Cineplex), Jalan Tabuan (the former Ting & Ting Supermarket/Borneo Hotel), and Jalan Ban Hock (Grand Continental Hotel/MBKS flats) before ending back at the Jubilee Grounds.
The total distance of the route covered by the parade was 4km.
Michael Teng, 33, who was leading more than 100 participants from the Sarawak Blessed Church contingent, said they would be showcasing their creativity in arts by wearing a specific theme in the parade.
Each of his contingent members was wearing a cap adorned with an egg on top, symbolising the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Our contingent will also be singing praises along the parade,” said Teng.
Sendie Tangan, 49, from the First Baptist Church, said she was very excited, even after participating every year for three consecutive years.
“I hope the sheer volume of the participants would show or send a message of unity in Sarawak.
“I brought along my family members,” she said, adding that her church’s contingent consisted of more than 100 people.
Representing the St Thomas Cathedral, Johanan Chambers, 48, was delighted to see the overwhelming response to the parade managed, despite the wet evening.
“It’s the spirit of Christmas,” he said, saying that rain or shine did not matter.
The St Thomas’ contingent comprised of about 200 participants, consisting of members from the choir, Sunday School, Server’s Guild, and many other ministries.
Scroll down for more pictures of the parade. 👇