Mass, carols usher in Xmas

Mass, carols usher in Xmas

Mass, carols usher in Xmas

Merrymaking: A man dressed as Santa Claus cheers people during Christmas celebrations at India Gate in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

The festival was celebrated in all its fervour in the Christian-dominated states of Kerala and the Northeast. In Kerala, the faithful in large numbers turned up for midnight mass in churches across the state, including the three Catholic rites-Syro Malabar, Syro Malankara and Latin hierarchies.

Senior prelates led the special services at the diocesan headquarters, giving out the message of love, hope and peace as symbolised by Christmas. Churchyards displayed tableaux of the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem with the three wise men from the East looking with great hope at the new born. The Kerala Government organised Christmas fairs throughout the state, where essentials and provisions were sold at subsidised rates in view of their rising prices.

In Tamil Nadu, the famous Santhome Basilica and Shrine Vailankanni Church in Chennai wore a festive look as people thronged the venues on the occasion. Thousands of devouts from all over the country also converged at the famous pilgrim town of Velankanni in Nagapattinam district.

Tourists and locals joined the festivities in the Northeast, home to a large number of Christians. Meghalaya was decked for Christmas and the forthcoming New Year celebrations with government and private buildings as well as street corners illuminated and decorated with Christmas trees, banners and festoons. Special programmes, including traditional Christmas carols and colourful processions, rendered the air festive. Individual artistes and gospel bands enthralled the crowds with traditional Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells”, “Oh Holy Night” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”.
Hectic last-minute shopping and night-long concerts marked the Christmas Eve. Commercial hubs of Shillong were crowded with people buying clothes, foodstuff and other Christmas items.

Long queues were seen in front of the prominent bakeries in Shillong selling “designer” cakes. Known for attractive illumination during Christmas and New Year, the Garo Hills, too, was agog with festivity.

Arch Bishop Dominic Jala said: “This is a festival which allows people to come together as it marks the coming of Christ into this world. Christmas symbolises peace and prosperity among mankind and people should work for the benefit and welfare of humanity.”