Jingle bells ring all over the state - People attend prayer masses in churches, sing carols and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve

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By NAMITA PANDA AND VIKASH SHARMA
  • Published 25.12.10
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Bhubaneswar, Dec. 24: Christmas celebrations across the state began on a perfect note as the melody of carols, sung throughout the night at various churches, echoed across the twin cities.

Special prayer masses were held on Christmas Eve. This apart, people also exchanged gifts and cards.

In Bhubaneswar, churches were studded with lights and other forms of decoration. Members of the Christian community in the city attended the churches in huge numbers to offer special services and prayers on the occasion.

Creative replicas of stables and barns with scenes of Nativity were on display at the churches with figurines of Mary and Joseph and a baby Jesus in a crèche.

“I had come here along with all my family members. It feels good to see the festival being observed with peace throughout the state,” said Bina Naik, a visitor at the Satyanagar Church.

“Christmas is a special day for members of the community to unite and pray for the well-being of the whole world,” said reverend Chittaranjan Nayak.

People were seen thronging gift stores to choose greeting cards illustrated with pictures of Santa Claus with reindeers, snow flakes and crystals and cheerful messages.

“There’s a huge rush for cards for the occasion. People want small as well as big decorative cards,” said Premanand Mohapatra, a gift storeowner.

The fervour for the festival is high in Cuttack too. The Baptist and Catholic churches in the city have been beautifully decorated for Christmas celebrations.

Various themes and tableaux depicting the birth of Jesus Christ and his preachings have been installed at various religious institutions.

City police have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful Christmas celebration in the city. Preparations at all the major churches in the city reached their final stage to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Saturday.

“It is almost a month that preparations had begun. Special carols, prayers started from 10.15 pm and other rituals were also performed at midnight in our church,” said Catholic Church father, Nihar Ranjan Paricha.

A large number of people attended the mass carols and other traditional rituals held at the church.

Moreover, various cultural programmes will also be held throughout Saturday to celebrate the auspicious occasion. People from other communities are also joining the festivities.

“Christmas is a festival of love, peace, tolerance and brotherhood. During this period, we have a great time with our friends and family members,” said a local resident Manmohan Das.

Special choirs were held in various schools, clubs and institutes across the state on Christmas Eve.

The Carmel School in Rourkela had a lively and energetic performance by the female band of the school, Insanes, who produce music from waste.

“We performed some choir specially for the festival by using buckets, tins, ghungroos, flower vase, glass bottles and so on,” said Shristi Gope, a member of the band.

Cities of Berhampur and Puri are also celebrating the festival in high spirits.

While sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik created a huge sand-art of a green Santa, bakeries in Berhampur have come up with cakes with wonderful designs.