A man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit touring a popular neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Iraqi central city of Najaf, takes children on a ride in a tuktuk on December 25, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

Baghdad: Iraq’s Cabinet approved a law to mark December 25 as an official holiday across the country “on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ”, according to a statement released by the Iraqi government.

The Cabinet voted on an amendment to the national holidays law in the country that Christmas Day is a holiday for all Iraqis, and not only for the Christian community, as it had been for decades, CNN reported.

“Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world,” the Iraqi government said on Twitter.

In Baghdad, Christians celebrated mass on Tuesday morning in churches decorated for Christmas. Once fearful, they said they were now hopeful, since conditions had improved.

“Of course we can say the security situation is better than in previous years,” said Father Basilius, leader of the St George Chaldean Church in Baghdad where more than a hundred congregants attended Christmas mass.