Christmas warms up city amid winter chill

Christmas warms up city amid winter chill

Christmas was celebrated with traditional fervour in Odisha today as thousands thronged churches for special prayers.

While most of the Catholic churches like Lupita Hall in Telco, St. Joseph's cathedral in Golmuri had a midnight mass and a morning mass, the St. Mary's Church In Bistupur had three prayer services, one at midnight, one in the morning and one which was held last evening for the convenience of senior citizens. "Christmas is celebrated grandly all over the city". Special prayers were also offered for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. Members of 80,000-strong Christian community in the city offered prayers at CNI Christ Church, CNI Muglisarai Church, Nanpura Catholic Church and churches of other Christian denominations. People were seen offering prayers, lighting candles and wishing one another to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with pomp and gaiety.

On the occasion, Santa Claus distributed candies and toys among dozens of toddlers waiting in a queue.

"We then come to church and pray to the lord to fulfill all our dreams", he added.

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However, people missed "White Christmas" as there was no snowfall in the Valley.

Another devotee, Vijay, said, "Christmas is a festival of giving". Officially, the decision had been made by Palestinian leadership to limit celebrations to religious observances, but a number of pundits expressed a common belief that after "days of rage" marked by violent street rallies, people sought to avoid the possibility of a raucous [read dangerous] outpouring and stayed home.

On the occasion, Secretary Tourism Sarmaad Hafeez addressed the gathering and said, "The department was organising cultural events and adventure sports activities to entertain tourists and to engage locals". The celebrations will continue till December 31 night to greet the New Year.

The department this week has lined up seminars at Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad in which leading travel agents from across the country and outside have been invited.

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