JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Dec 25: Christmas was celebrated across the State with religious fervour and gaiety.
A spirit of festivity pervaded across the State as midnight masses, resonance of carols and merriment ushered in Christmas celebrations today.
As bells tolled, worshipers thronged churches and cathedrals decorated with twinkling lights for the midnight service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
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All churches of the Jammu city and outskirts were fully decorated and illuminated where the rush of devotees continued from midnight.
The prayer meetings were held in various churches including the St Mary’s Garrison Church, Gandhi Nagar, St Paul Church Residency Road, St Peter’s Church, Pentecostal Church Jammu and others.
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. 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.
The winter capital tuned to a celebratory note with the yuletide spirit reflecting in tastefully decked up churches and santa caps dotting busy marketplaces.
Special prayers for world peace and brotherhood were held at churches. The main gathering was witnessed at the St Merry Garrison Church, Gandhi Nagar road, where devotees assembled in large numbers to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ.
The church was decorated with colourful buntings and balloons and wore a festive look.
Not only Christians, but people from different faiths also visited churches along with their families and offered prayers.
The members of Christian community attired in colorful dresses were seen greeting, hugging and conveying Christmas greetings to each other.
Special cakes were cut and sweets were distributed among the devotees, while prayers were held on the occasion for the peace and prosperity of the state.
Apart from this, fool proof security arrangements were made across the churches and the busiest market places so as to avoid any untoward incident.
Earlier, Ramesh Kumar Deputy Commissioner Jammu inaugurated the Christmas Mela at Christian Colony Vir Marg Jammu in the presence of Chander Mohan Sharma Mayor of Jammu, Fr. Kuriakose President Christian Fellowship Trust, Pastor Vinod, SM Gill Ex-MLC, Nicodemus President Christian Federation Jammu, Rajesh Gill Chief Prosecuting Officer, Dy Lazar Kandayara General Secretary Christian Fellowship Trust, Festus Sotra, Asif Gill, David Mattoo Executive members of the Christian Fellowship Trust Jammu, Nasir Masih, Rohit George and Thomas.
The Christmas Mela was conducted in a very colourful manner under the banner of Christian Fellowship Trust Jammu in which all the churches of the Jammu City participated and spread the messages of Jesus, his birth and his working by singing Christmas carols for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. So many peoples from different walks of life joined the Christmas Mela and enjoyed the Christmas season with all.
The peoples of different Churches participated in the Christmas Mela includes St. Peters Catholic Church Jammu, St. Paul Church Residency Jammu, Pentecostal Church Jammu and other churches of Jammu and its surrounding areas.
St. Peter’s Catholic Church Orchestra band enthralled the general public of the city by singing of Lovely Christmas Carols.
Meanwhile, Christmas was celebrated today in Kashmir with traditional enthusiasm and religious fervour with Christians in the Valley thronging churches as special prayers were held for world peace.
The biggest gathering in the Valley was held at the Holy Family Catholic Church at Maulana Azad Road here, where hundreds of Christians, including women and children, assembled to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ and held special prayers.
The church was decorated with colourful buntings and balloons and it wore a festive look. The devotees attending the celebrations prayed for the communal harmony, love for humanity and compassion for all living inside the Valley.
Among the believers were tourists from different parts of the country who joined the locals on the auspicious day and prayed for world peace and brotherhood. The Santa Claus was seen giving away gifts to the children at Maulana Azad Road Church.
“This is my first Christmas in the Valley and I am very happy. We are celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ who gave the great message to the humanity of peace, joy and happiness. We had a negative mindset regarding Kashmir but people here are loving and very helpful,” one of the tourists attending the religious gathering said.