Shillong (Matters India): Christians in Meghalaya Thursday celebrated Christmas with fervour and spirit, exchanging greetings and gifts with friends and relatives.
Hindus also joined in the celebrations in this Christian-dominated northeastern state to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Bishops and pastors led services and delivered sermons in various cathedrals and churches of different Christian denominations in the capital city, Shillong.
Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, presided over the midnight Christmas mass at the Nazareth hospital here and later at St. Joseph Church in Laitkor area.
In his sermon, Jala appealed to people to uphold the ideals of universal love and brotherhood.
All churches, missionary schools and institutions were decorated with colourful buntings and lights, First Post reported.
Hindus also celebrated Christmas in their own way. The central puja committee, the apex body of Hindu religious organisations, organised an event to celebrate the Christmas.
Ramakrishna Mission in Shillong celebrated the Christmas in ‘Hindu style’ by chanting Vedic shlokas and offering pujas to Jesus Christ.
Swami Purnanandaji Maharaj, the chief speaker on the occasion, who came from Belur Math, Kolkata, recalled how in the middle of December, Babu Ram’s (Swami Premananda, a brother monk of Swami Vivekananda) mother, Matangini Devi, invited the young monks to visit her native village Antpur during the Christmas vacation.
Exchange of greetings and gifts, visits to relatives, games and sports among children and community feasts marked celebrations across the state, where over 80 percent of the population is Christian.
Leaders of various political parties have also greeted the people on the occasion of the Christmas.
Extending his greetings, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said: “It is Christmas time once again, the season of peace, love and goodwill.
May the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ fill our heart with peace, love, hope and goodwill, the true spirit of Christmas.”
“May this Christmas ignite the spirit of love, compassion and forgiveness amongst the people,” Sangma said.
Meghalaya Governor K.K. Paul said the spirit and warmth of Christmas will bestow enduring peace, brotherhood, prosperity and happiness in the life of every citizen in the state.