Christmas celebrated in Odisha

Churches across the state are seen decorated with lights, candles, Christmas trees, bells and carols were sung to celebrate the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. 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. The church is decorated with balloons, lanterns.

"On Christmas, we pray for world peace and love and wish that the Lord showers happiness and peace on all".

Later, President Hamid cut a Christmas cake with members of the Christian community.

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As Christmas is being celebrated with fervour and gaiety across the world and India, celebrations are witnessed in Hyderabad as well.

He said special New Year celebrations were also being held at Pahalgam to promote Pahalgam also as a winter tourist destination that otherwise is considered to be a summer resort.Hafeez said this year, a snow festival would also be held at Patnitop.

"Last year the celebrations were low-key due to the unrest and were restricted to the spiritual part only. Christmas spreads the message of love and peace", said Father David Vincent, vicar general and parish priest of St. Joseph's Cathedral. Before the downpours began, modest numbers of onlookers mulled about Manger Square and a steady stream of visitors paid respects at the Church of the Nativity. It was an wonderful experience. "Christmas is celebrated grandly all over the city". "We played different games that we had never even seen or heard of". According to several media reports, mostly tourists, including foreigners, prayed inside the church in Gulmarg, gathering there despite the harsh cold and several feet of snow.

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As bells tolled, people thronged the churches, including the Cathedral Church of The Redemption and Sacred Heart Cathedral -- looking resplendent with twinkling lights for the midnight service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

"We are happy that Jesus Christ descended on the earth on this day to relieve us from our sins", said a person at a church in Bhubaneswar.

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

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Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the governor of the state N.N Vohra greeted the Christian community on the auspicious day. May the spirit of Christmas be the harbinger of prosperity, abundance and peace in your life.


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