The inaugural Hope Christmas Festival has been held on the grounds of Assyrian Australian Social Centre (formerly Nineveh Club) in Edensor Park, Sydney. The event, described as a resounding success by its organisers, the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association – Sydney, attracted thousands of faithful and locals.
The Festival was the first of its kind to be organised by the Assyrian Church of the East with the purpose of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ not only amongst the faithful of the church but with the wider community.
Taking place on Boxing Day, 26 December, an Australian national public holiday, the official program opened with a prayer offered by St. Hurmizd Cathedral’s Sunday School.
The day was filled with fun rides and amusements, appearances by popular Disney characters such as Cinderella, Snow White, Aladdin with Jasmine, Pinocchio as well as Batman and of course the festival’s friendly clown.
Throughout the day, local Assyrian DJ Robbie entertained the crowd with a wide range of Christmas carols and other well-known soundtracks.
Later in the evening, notable Assyrian singers and entertainers took to the stage and performed for hours with attendees dancing the night away.
Lucky door prizes were drawn and ceramic and arts competitions were held as part of the program.
Parishioners loved the entertainment, while the cultural foods left the attendees with a fulfilled appetite thanks to the collective efforts of the Assyrian Church of the East Ladies Auxiliaries.
Performances were given by various church branches including two dances by the kindergarten students of St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School.
Later in the evening, students of the Mar Narsai Assyrian College performed carols in the spirit of Christmas. They were joined by the choir and faithful of the church’s English-language congregation Ss Peter and Paul Parish led by choir conductor Deacon Ninos Babisha.
The Chaplain of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association – Sydney, Rev’d Narsai Youkhanis gave a final address thanking the attendees for their support.
The night concluded with a beautiful display of fireworks viewed by many hundreds of attendees who had remained until the conclusion of the festival.
Owing to the resounding success of this event, it will become an annual event on the calendar of the Sydney Youth Association open to all faithful of the church and the wider local community.