Bhubaneswar: Decked up churches, lighted altars, Xmas trees decorated with gifts, devotees flocking to observe midnight mass, revelers sporting Santa Claus caps and festive cheer ushered in Christmas in the city.
While soothing carols and music along with a dazzling Xmas tree rang in the festival on Christmas Eve at St Vincent’s Catholic church, an atmosphere of peace and serenity pervaded Union Church as devotees observed the holy rituals to mark the birth of Lord Jesus Christ.
For some, Christmas is about good food, music, parties and spending time with loved ones, while others go with the merry atmosphere that marks the festival.
Draped in ethnic wear, college student Sharmishtha said, “Rum cake is mandatory and it gives a sense of bliss to celebrate the fest even if you are not a Christian.”
Going down memory lane, she became nostalgic over how her parents used to dress like Santa Claus to surprise her with gifts during Christmas.
For others, the lighted candles and the jovial ambience made the perfect setting for clicking selfies and updating their insta stories with the trending ‘All I want for Christmas’ frame.
One such reveler, Samyak, an MBA student, proceeded to pay his tribute to Lord Jesus by lighting candles at a city church. “I want to be a Santa Claus to the have-nots once I get a job,” he said with affection in his eyes.
About 1-2 lakh people are expected to visit the churches in the city to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, sing carols and enjoy the festivities.
While fixing his robe and praising the decorations, priest Dibakar Parichaj said, “Jesus is Immanuel. This Christmas, let’s love in a special way that bears fruit, learn to forgive and share what we all have.”
On a more personal note, he added, “It gives me a sense of joy to see the excitement of children when they open their gifts every year under the Christmas tree.”
Not only for Christians, but Christmas is a way to unite people of every religion. More so, if the occasion means a fun filled outing. “My friends are the only reason for me to celebrate Christmas,” said Madhumita.