Mumbai ushers in Christmas
the city were filled with thousands of pious worshippers who
gathered to usher in Christmas in their best suits and shimmering
skirts.The churches, decorated with stars and fairy lights, wore a
welcoming look. Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal »
New Delhi: Homes
decked up with lights and stars, midnight masses, church services,
exchanging gifts, carol singing and feasting -- India, where
Christians constitute 2.3 percent of the population, Sunday
celebrated Christmas with a lot of merrymaking.
People met friends and relatives, visited churches, distributed
plum cakes and organised special parties on the festival that
celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Right from the northeast to the south, India, where Christianity
is the third biggest religion, celebrated Christmas with joy and
"It's a festival of peace and harmony. People of all religions
have come here today," Father Maria Susai at the Scared Heart
Cathedral in the capital told IANS.
"The people feel one with Jesus," said Father Susai at the
While for many it was a cozy, small family affair, others went for
evening balls and parties where they danced to carols.
Social networking websites were also flooded with Christmas
wishes. "Merry Xmas guys...may we all be blessed with peace and
contentment..and the happiness to live and love..and be loved,"
actress Priyanka Chopra tweeted.
In Mumbai, where over a million Christians reside, special
programmes were organised in malls. Cakes in the shape of
Christmas trees and Santa were a major hit.
And it was not just the Christian pockets, the whole city was
soaked in the festive spirit. "Everyone in our locality comes
together to celebrate all festivals," said Alex D'silva, a
resident of suburban Borivli.
In Meghalaya, where over 80 percent of the population is
Christian, bishops and pastors led services and delivered sermons
in various cathedrals and churches.
Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese, Reverend Dominic Jala presided
the midnight Christmas mass at the Mary Help of Christian
Cathedral and appealed to the people to uphold the ideals of
universal love and brotherhood.
In Kerala, where Christians make up 22 percent of the population,
people enjoyed the sumptuous breakfast of 'appam' laced with fresh
toddy, chicken stew, steamed banana, egg curry, cake and wine at
their homes even as hotels, restaurants and bakeries did brisk
In Andhra Pradesh, a festive atmosphere prevailed in Secunderabad,
Hyderabad, Medak, Visakhapatnam and other towns with bursting of
crackers and people of all ages attending the midnight services in
In Little England, as Lalaguda in Secunderabad is known, the
Anglo-Indian community celebrated the festival by going house to
house, singing merrily all the time.
At the historic Church of South India in Medak, about 100 km from
Hyderabad, believers carried a decorated cross into the church and
placed it before an artificially-created hut.
In Kolkata, which has over 90,000 Christians, the fashionable Park
Street, which for long has been the epicentre of Christmas
festivities, and Bow Barracks, the famous heritage address
inhabited by Christians and Anglo-Indians, were soaked in festive
In the national capital, braving the the coldest morning in five
years, people from all walks of life reached one of the oldest
churches Sacred Heart.
The church organised a daylong public mass and an open air theater
with a DJ playing songs.
Olivier Mensah from Togo in Africa missed Christmas back home, but
loved the unique mix of cultures in India. "The churches are so
grand and beautiful here and so many people of different cultures
have come together," said Mensah.
A 35-ft-high sand image of a huge Santa Claus was created at a
beach in Odisha by artist Sudarsan Pattnaik. The sculpture bears a
message -- "Peace and Prosperity, Health and Happiness".