A spirit of festivity pervaded across the country as midnight masses, resonance of carols and merriment ushered in Christmas on Sunday.
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.
Kolkata celebrated Christmas by holding midnight masses and carols that continued through the day and evening with people from all walks of life and faiths thronging churches, parks, zoo and other places of recreation. City of Joy’s iconic cake shops were brimming with people who queued up for long hours to taste their favourite cakes and pastries. Midnight masses were attended by hundreds at St Paul’s Cathedral, St James Church and many other places of worship in different parts of the city which reminded one of the Raj era grandiose celebration of the Yuletide with Park Street serving as the pivot. In independent India, Park Street is still reckoned as synonymous with unending partying and fun and frolic.
The street is beautifully illuminated as restaurants on either side of the road set up food stalls to serve delicacies to the rapturous throng. The celebrations were inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 16 at Allen Park on Park Street.
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.
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.