Christmas celebrated across India with religious fervor, gaiety

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-26 09:44:59|Editor: Jiaxin
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NEW DELHI, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Christian community across India Monday held celebrated Christmas festival with religious fervor and gaiety.

The prayers were held at churches across almost all the main cites and major towns in India. Community members gathered to listen to the religious address.

Reports from four metropolitan cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai said chief priests dressed in elegant robes delivered the Christmas address and later on prayed for the welfare of their communities and people around the world.

Churches were decorated with buntings and lights. The devotees had even erected Christmas trees in the churches.

Christmas is an official holiday in India.

In Goa, Christmas is being celebrated as one of its biggest festivals.

Reports from Goa said people thronged churches on Christmas eve for the traditional midnight mass. Special prayers, carols and hymns mark celebrations at the state's ancient churches including the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji.

The iconic church square and adjoining streets at the heart of Panaji have been lit up and have come alive with colourful street art. Cribs depicting scenes of the birth of Jesus Christ are being displayed at homes, churches, chapels and open spaces in the city.

In Mumbai a family had grown a 65 feet tall Christmas tree at their backyard in Worli, said to be India's tallest.

The tree has been decorated with over 10,000 lights, bells, images of reindeer and snowmen, and a waving Santa Claus.

In Uttar Pradesh, the celebrations were held amid threats from fringe right-wing Hindu groups. The police in the state had made adequate security measures to ensure smooth celebrations.

Last week two Hindu groups in the state warned schools not to celebrate the occasion, claiming it would lead to "forced conversions" to Christianity. Prior to it a group of carol singers were detained by the police and had their car torched, over the allegations of conversion.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed Christmas greeting during his public address in Noida.

"I convey my greetings on the occasion of Christmas," Modi said.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, vice President M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the people as well on the occasion.

Christianity is considered to be the world's largest religion. In India, Christians are a minority.