Country celebrates Christmas with gaiety and fervour

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New Delhi, Dec 25 (UNI) Christmas was today celebrated with gaiety and fervour across the country as rich hues of red and silver along with the soft and melodious carols filled the air.

Lip-smacking desserts and delicious foods served among families and friends amid carols and Biblical hymns were the order of the day.

The national capital witnessed long queues outside well-lit churches as a festive cheer marked the occasion. Many were seen wearing the red Santa Cap even as some put up their Sunday best.

Brilliantly decorated Christmas trees and gorgeous twinkling lights added to the sparkle.

Goa, the home of a large section of Catholic Christians, saw domestic and foreign tourists thronging the state to enjoy the festival and New Year, even as the authorities took all measures to ensure an incident free and peaceful season.

Governor SC Jamir, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat extended their warm greetings to the people on the occasion.

Tens and hundreds of Christians in Tamil Nadu participated in midnight mass, held in all the churches which were illuminated and tastefully decorated for the occasion.

Governor S S Barnala, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and leaders of various political parties, greeted the Christians on the eve.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio greeted the people of the state and urged them to eschew violence, ill-will, hatred and all negative thoughts.

Calling upon all Nagas to introspect, and let Jesus be born in their hearts, Mr Rio appealed to them to rededicate oneself to spread the lord's love and affection in the true Christian spirit of ''forgive and forget.'' Manipur witnessed special Christmas games and cultural programmes to celebrate the eve in a different way.

Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said, the ''birth of Christ on this earth heralds peace, goodwill and love among mankind and also between the mankind and the almighty God.

Every person who believes in God irrespective of caste, creed and religion should be a messenger of peace, goodwill and love.'' In Kolkata, the festival was celebrated with joy and enthusiasm as a special time to be awashed in Yuletide spirit for all the people more Christian in spirit, than by religion.

Large number of devotees turned up for the traditional midnight mass even as special mass was held in various churches in Kerala and in Andhra Pradesh.

Kerala Governor R L Bhatia, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, leaders of various political parties and church heads greeted the people on the occasion.

Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and leaders of various political parties greeted the Christians.

At the stroke of midnight, church bells rang and Christians across Meghalaya celebrated the festival with religious fervour.

The bedecked city of Shillong resembled a fairyland with spectacular lighting and festoons.

Chief Minister D D Lapang attended Christmas service at Presbyterian Church.

Extending greetings to the people, Jharkhand Governor Syed Sibtey Razi urged to follow the path of peace and love on the occassion.

Chief Minister Madhu Koda said Jesus wanted to form a new world based on peace, justice and equality of mankind.

UNI

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