New Delhi: A spirit of festivity pervaded across the country as midnight masses, resonance of carols and merriment ushered in Christmas today.
As bells tolled, worshippers thronged churches and cathedrals decorated with twinkling lights for the midnight service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Sparkling Christmas trees and gift items adorned marketplaces that wore a festive look as community feasts, exchange of greetings and colourful processions marked the occasion.
Traditional Christmas carols rendered the air festive with gospel bands enthralling the merry-makers with songs like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Oh Holy Night’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’. It was a busy day for Santa Claus, the man in red with a flowing white beard, who went from place to place cheering the revellers.
The national capital tuned to a celebratory note with the yuletide spirit with people sporting santa caps dotting its busy market areas.
People ushered in the auspicious occasion through midnight masses and resonance of carols notwithstanding low temperature levels and foggy conditions.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief ministers of various states and political leaders greeted the nation on the occasion.
People used social networking sites and applications to greet each other.
Redemption, rejoicing, feasting and singing marked the occasion in the North-East which has sizeable Christian population.
Midnight services in churches across Meghalaya heralded the advent of birth of Jesus Christ as tourists and locals joined in the festivities with religious fervour, mixed with merriment, exchanging greetings and gifts with friends and relatives.
State capital Shillong was decked up for Christmas for the week’s celebrations. Both government and private buildings as well as street corners were illuminated and decorated with Christmas trees, banners and festoons.
Tourists flocked to this hill state to participate during Christmas celebrations and also to take a taste of the winter season. Known for attractive illumination during Christmas and New Year, the Garo Hills too is agog with festivity.
With the peel of the midnight bells, churches across Goa celebrated the birth of Lord Jesus heralding the Christmas season which will culminate with New Year festivities.
Lakhs of faithfuls attended the midnight masses which were held across the state, followed by traditional dances at various places. Goa has 27 per cent of its population following Roman Catholic faith.
While locals are busy celebrating Christmas, more tourists are expected to arrive in the coastal state to usher in the New Year.