RIYADH: With Christmas upon us many diplomats in the Kingdom are celebrating the festive year, with ornamented trees and Christmas decor lighting up during this joyful time of the year.
Saudi Arabia earlier this week implemented tighter measures by closing its borders in response to the outbreak of the new strain of the coronavirus.
“We must not forget all those who will remain away from their families as a result of these measures,” said the French ambassador, Ludovic Pouilles. He will be celebrating Christmas this year in Riyadh, and he said that the most important thing right now is to maintain our health by adhering to the safety measures in our celebrations this year.
Christmas to those who celebrate it is the time of year for families and friends to get together.
“One of the traditions that we celebrate in Denmark is the Christmas tree. It is something that is decorated during the month of December and is something the whole family can gather around from the very young children until the oldest members of the family can enjoy decorating the trees,” Michael Jensen, from the Royal Danish embassy in Riyadh, said while standing in front of a fully decorated tree.
Music is also a big part of Christmas. Cypriot ambassador, Stavros Avgoustides, wished everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year, said: “It is a song about greeting and welcoming people into our homes. It is a season, similarly to the holy month of Ramadan, where we share time with our family, exchange gifts and have large gatherings. This year my family and I are spending it here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It has been a very difficult year for everyone, and unfortunately this goes to the ones who suffered the most during this difficult time. I wish to extend our sincere greetings and wishes to the people of Saudi Arabia and around the world for a new year full of good health, security, safety, and prosperity.”
The Belgian ambassador, Dominique Minuer, congratulated everyone on doing their best to abide by the health measures this year and protecting those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
“What comes immediately to my mind is to appreciate the family and the friends even at times where social distancing was so difficult. There were so many ways to express our love or appreciation, to say thank you,” she said.
Patrick Simonnet, the new EU ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is celebrating this Christmas with his family in Jeddah: “Jeddah is a beautiful city and we are very happy to be here. We had some difficulties finding a Christmas tree but finally we found one. So, we would like, my family and myself, to wish all those that are celebrating Christmas in Saudi Arabia Merry Christmas.”
Christmas came with its jolly vibes and atmosphere, and for these diplomats this means enjoying this time with their families and wishing for the start of a happier and more prosperous year.