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Nepal restores Christmas as holiday

December 28, 2016

Reversing a decision made earlier this year, the government of Nepal restored Christmas to the list of public holidays.

In the spring, the government of former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, a member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), removed Christmas from the list of holidays. Christian leaders objected, observing that the decision would make it difficult for workers to observe the day.

In August, a rival Communist party—the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre)—assumed power, and just before Christmas, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s government restored the holiday. Dahal offered wishes of “peace, happiness, prosperity, good health, unity, and brotherhood to all Nepali Christians at home and abroad.”

The nation of 29 million has few Christians: it is 81% Hindu, 9% Buddhist, and 4% Muslim, with 3% following the indigenous Kirant Mundhum religion. Nonetheless, thousands of non-Christians took part in Christmas celebrations, with shops adorned with Christmas trees and decorations, according to an AsiaNews report.

 
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