With prayers and cheer, Delhi ushers in Christmas

December 25th, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 25 (IANS) Harmonious voices rang out with carols like “Silent night, holy night” as hundreds of people - old and young - attended midnight mass at churches in the capital Wednesday night to usher in Christmas with cheer and wishes for a “Merry Christmas”.At the ornately decorated Sacred Heart Cathedral near Connaught Place, people came in hordes - bundled in woollens and wearing bright smiles - to pray and celebrate the festival.

Carols filled the church and gently broke the silence of the mist-enveloped night.

For most like Liz Samuel, a home maker, and John Joseph, a social worker, who attended the midnight mass in the Sacred Heart Cathedral with their families, Christmas is a time of family reunion.

“For us, Christmas is a very emotional time. It’s a time when our extended family whose members live all across the country get together for the midnight mass and the celebrations thereafter. It’s really so much more than just a festival,” Samuel told IANS.

“We all really look forward to this time of the year,” said Joseph.

“Both my children live abroad but make it a point to be at home during Christmas. It’s a time for celebration of togetherness,” he added.

With the Mumbai terror attacks still fresh in mind, Samuel said: “We prayed for peace. It’s a month now since the terror attacks in Mumbai and it still gives us goosebumps. May the new year be blessed with peace and prosperity for our country like the rest of the world so that innocent people don’t get killed like this.”

While the soulful midnight mass is looked forward to by all, it’s the celebrations the morning after that kids are specially excited about.

They get up to open their presents under the Christmas tree or next to their beds. After a prayer service, the Christmas feast is a royal affair. From chicken and turkey roast to finger licking fish fingers, from the delectable plum cakes and pastries to some good old red wine, the tables are decorated to stir anyone’s appetite.

“The best thing about Christmas are the gifts I get and the feast… and the cake,” said eight-year-old Carol James, celebrating the festival at Nagaland House in the capital.

“Santa gave me the Barbie doll set which I have been wanting for a long time, so I am really happy,” she squealed even as her father explained that he had placed her gift near her bed at night with a note from “Santa Claus”.

“It’s these innocent thrills which Christmas is all about,” he smiled.

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