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Celebration in the air

- prayers and feasting all day long

Dec. 25: A solemn morning mass at churches and cathedrals, a busy afternoon at the zoo, eleventh-hour plum cake shopping at the bakeries and a serene evening of merry-making at home and elsewhere — the spirits were high as camaraderie and feasting marked Christmas in the city today.

“Over a thousand people attended the morning mass which started from 9am. Before and after the mass, carols were sung, cakes were cut and distributed among those present followed by exchange of Christmas greetings. A tableau of the nativity scene put up on the premises is attracting people. The church will remain open till 11.30pm and I would reckon the footfall going beyond a lakh by then,” Father T.. Jose, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church, Panbazar, told this correspondent.

The ambience was similar in other churches and cathedrals.

“People came in large numbers to attend morning mass at Dispur Cathedral,” said Fr John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati.

Gwen Menzies, a resident of Rukminigaon, said: “We had the holy mass at Rukminigaon Cathedral Church this morning, followed by carol and cake-cutting rituals. This was followed by a lunch that had mutton biryani as the main course. People have come in large numbers and the celebrations will continue till late at night.”

A good part of the day also saw the young and the old making a beeline to the zoo which recorded a footfall of 7,352 people today as against 3,037 yesterday.

“The revenue collection today was pegged at Rs 73,960. Usually during holidays, visitors come in large numbers to the zoo. The revenue collected during holidays is in the range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000. But the numbers go beyond during Christmas and New Year’s Day,” divisional forest officer, Assam State Zoo division, Utpal Bora, said.

The baked goodies, as usual during this time of the year, stole the show at the bakeries with plum cakes ruling the roost. People dressed as Santa Claus were seen greeting visitors and wooing children to shops and restaurants.

“The demand for fruit cakes soared over the past week or so. But rich plum cakes by far have proved to be a best-seller followed by Yule log and Yule pastries,” said a salesperson at Patisserie Opera in Ulubari.

At Eggs--Tic at Chenikuthi and Loyan’s at Uzan Bazar, plum cakes flew off the shelves.

Cakes were baked at home too.

“I have prepared as many as six fruit cakes for my guests this week,” said Nayana Bora, a resident of Uzan Bazar.

There was last-minute shopping at the malls with a popular mall at Bhangagarh recording footfall exceeding 5,000. “The footfall exceeded the 5,000 that we have on holidays. Apart from a high demand for cakes and soft toys, we have had customers buying winter-wear as well,” said an official of the mall.

The run-up to the “big day” also saw people buying paper pine trees, stars, bells and jingles. “I had brought four dozen Christmas trees from Delhi in the first week of December for sale at my makeshift stall. By yesterday afternoon, all trees were sold. Today, I am left with a few stars and Santa Claus caps at my disposal, which I am sure, will be sold off soon,” Prabhat Talukdar, who owns a stationery store at Silpukhuri, said.