By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Christmas will be celebrated in Kuwait this year in a much somber and subdued mood, as gatherings are banned and hotels and halls are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some companies have sent invitations to celebrate their Christmas parties virtually, a first-ever Christmas gathering without the physical presence of invited guests. Other companies in Kuwait will not hold Christmas gatherings or parties this year.

“We will celebrate Christmas, but it will be online. It will be live on Facebook and on apps like Zoom,” said Marissa, an HR employee of a retail company in Kuwait. “The problem is we cannot assemble or gather in one place to celebrate. We can only gather in small numbers. Since our employees are many, it will be prudent to avoid mass gatherings. We can still have fun even if we are online,” she said.

Mina, an Egyptian Coptic Christian, said the church has cancelled all gatherings related to Christmas. “Our Christmas will be on January 7. But we were informed that no gatherings are allowed by the church and the community. So this year will come to pass without Christmas celebrations. We usually also celebrate with friends on December 25, but that celebration is also cancelled. So I guess we can only stay at home,” Mina told Kuwait Times.

“We also hold celebrations for our employees every Christmas, usually a few days before December 25. We have a mix of nationalities in our company, but since gatherings are not allowed, we cannot celebrate this time,” said Mina, who is also an HR employee.

Peter Ibrahim, an Indian expat, said only his family will gather this year. “We are going to celebrate the way we celebrate every year; maybe it will be less fun, but we will try harder. Our usual celebration is full of happiness and great joy, but we should respect the strict rules implemented by our host government. No gatherings and social distancing is a must in this time of pandemic,” Ibrahim said.