Worshippers packed decked up churches for prayers as midnight mass, resonance of carols and merriment ushered in Christmas across the country on Saturday.
Commercial hubs in cities sported a festive look on the occasion with sparkling Christmas trees and colourful gift items adorning marketplaces.
Exchange of greetings and gifts, community feasts and colourful processions at several places marked the festivities across the country, especially in the North-East which has a sizeable number of Christians.
Traditional Christmas carols rendered the air festive as gospel bands enthralled the merry-makers with songs like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Oh Holy Night’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’.
A spirit of yuletide pervaded the air as Christians thronged churches decked with twinkling lights and bakeries selling designer cakes.
It was a busy day for Santa Claus, a man in red with a flowing white beard, who went from place to place cheering the revellers.
Known for attractive illumination during Christmas, the Garo Hills in Meghalaya was agog with festivity.
Guitar strumming carol parties went from house to house in Mizoram where street-corners and road-intersections were colourfully decorated with cribs depicting the birth of Christ.
Redemption, rejoicing, feasting and singing marked the day in Kerala.
President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have greeted the people on the occasion saying the festival provides an opportunity to spread joy and share happiness.
[tab name=’Santa Claus’] [/tab] [tab name=’Christmas’] [/tab] [tab name=’festival’] [end_tabset]