Christmas celebrated across Kashmir with fervour

Youths take a selfie with a Santa Claus figure during a Christmas Day service at a Catholic church in Srinagar on Tuesday. AFP

Amid unabated cold wave, Christmas was celebrated with religious fervour in Kashmir on Tuesday with special prayers for peace held at the churches across the Valley. 

 
The churches across Srinagar were decorated with lights, balloons and ribbons to celebrate Christmas - the birthday of Jesus Christ. The main function was held in Holy Family Catholic church here where the Christian community members gathered to listen to the address of chief priest. 
 
“Celebrating Christmas in Kashmir is a special occasion as people from across the world visit here during winter and come to churches and celebrate Christmas,” said Father of All Saints Catholic Church, MA Road in Srinagar.
 
He said that Christmas is an auspicious day when people from other faiths come and wish them. “They (people from other faiths) take part in this festival with us and share happiness and joy with us. They pray along with us and pray for us also,” he said.
 
As part of midnight celebrations, the chorus prayers were also organised. A large number of community members participated in the midnight mass. Later special prayers were led by Father of the church.
 
Similar functions were held in Anantnag town, 50 km from here Baramulla town, 55 km from here and world-famous ski resort of Gulmarg. Tourists also joined the locals on the auspicious day and prayed for peace and brotherhood, especially for peace and calm in Kashmir.
 
Reports said churches across the Valley were decorated with Christmas trees, buntings and lights, where local Muslims thronged to greet their Christian friends. The chilly weather didn’t stop people especially small kids from attending the churches for special prayer meetings. They were seen wearing new winter clothes on the occasion.
 
Many Muslims were seen greeting their Christian brethren outside the Church. “We have come here to celebrate Christmas with our Christian brethren so that we give a message of peace that we are all brothers here,” said Majid, a businessman from Srinagar.
 
According to Census-2011 out of total 35,631 Christian population of state, Kashmir has 11, 857 Christian members.
 
Meanwhile, there was no relief from the severe cold that has been lashing the valley for a fortnight with minimum temperatures reaching minus 5.5 degrees Celsius in Srinagar minus 7.7 in Pahalgam and minus 7.6 in Gulmarg.

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Christmas celebrated across Kashmir with fervour

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