Christmas celebrated with gaiety in Udupi district

Christmas

On the occasion, Santa Claus distributed candies and toys among dozens of toddlers waiting in a queue. They participated in special prayers.

Residents of the steel city basked in the Yuletide spirit with Christmas cards, gifts and plum cakes to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. It was an incredible experience. The arrival of Santa Claus added to the celebrations. "We played different games that we had never even seen or heard of".

As the bells tolled, people thronged the churches - including the Cathedral Church of The Redemption and Sacred Heart Cathedral. According to several media reports, mostly tourists, including foreigners, prayed inside the church in Gulmarg, gathering there despite the harsh cold and several feet of snow.

While most Catholic churches such as Lupita Hall in Telco and St Joseph's Cathedral had a midnight mass and a morning mass, St Mary's Church in Bistupur had three prayer services - Sunday evening for senior citizens, one at midnight and one on Monday morning.

"We all share in the light of Jesus Christ because the Bible tells us that Christ is the light of the world", explains Trinity Presbyterian Pastor Mark Flynn. "The preparations actually begin around a month ago". The impressively decorated churches lent a festive spirit to the occasion of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.The people also distributed candies and burst crackers.

The churches of the city have been decorated and thousands of people visited the holy places to celebrate the Pagan holiday. Peace in the Middle East in the shadow of the U.S.'s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital dominated the prayers, along with hopes of the liberation of Christian communities across the region from persecution.

Father Prasanna Kumar Pradhan in his message said Christmas celebration symbolises culmination of all ill-feelings towards fellow beings.

President Abdul Hamid exchanged greetings with members of the Christian community at Bangabhaban on the occasion.

Vohra expressed hope that the celebration would strengthen the bonds of communal harmony, brotherhood, amity, and re-invigorate the secular and pluralistic traditions for which Jammu and Kashmir is known for, a Raj Bhavan spokesman said.

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