Colourful celebrations mark Xmas

Our Bureau

Shillong/TURA: Christmas was celebrated with traditional fervor and enthusiasm all across the state on Wednesday. Special services were held in different churches including Mary Help of Christians Cathedral, Shillong and Sacred Heart Shrine church in Tura. Midnight masses were held heralding the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
With hymns and carols all around, the fervor of festive season was felt in the city. Cakes designed with different themes of Christmas was very popular among the people in Shillong. 
As people exchange good wishes they also marked the day with prayers, special services, and carols besides the traditional mass community feasts.
People of all age groups dressed in their best attire headed for the special service for prayers to celebrate the day with fellow believers on Wednesday.
In Tura, special church services followed by music and dance and community feasts marked widespread celebrations across Garo Hills to welcome Christmas- birth anniversary of Lord Jesus.
The message of Christmas was announced to Christians all over by priests, reverends and pastors during midnight service as thousands of devotees attended special services to welcome Christmas.
At the Sacred Heart Shrine church in Tura, Rev. Fr. Levio urged Christians to have compassion and said forgiveness was one of the most important values of the church.
“When we forgive others we are following the teachings of Lord Jesus and Christmas is a time for forgiveness. When we forgive we attain peace in our heart and soul,” said Fr Levio. 
As the midnight bell chimed, jubilation erupted all around as people exchanged greetings, hugging and shaking hands with one another wishing “Happy and Merry Christmas”. 
Fireworks also lit up the night sky and people began gathering in different locality fields where arrangements had been made for a night of community dancing.
Huge crowds of revellers  gathered at Jangga field in Wadanang locality which became the most sought after for the traditional community dance.
As the drummers beat the notes, hordes of people joined the dance which went on well into the early morning hours.
It was also a time for local delicacies as families churned out one indigenous food item after another.
The famous traditional rice cakes and pancakes, “Pita” “Sakkin” and “Jakep” were out on dining tables for the gourmet lovers, something many look forward to once every year.
In many places, the traditional Song Kristan community dance was held in big open fields during Christmas.
The largest Song Kristan gatherings were witnessed in Nishangram-Mendipathar-Dainadubi region of North Garo Hills.
This traditional dance event is expected to continue up to New Year’s day with a grand finale on January 1 morning when dancers from each locality in several villagers will move in unison to the central field for the biggest dance event of the year.
EKH DEF celebrates Christmas
The East Khasi Hills District Executive Force (DEF) organised a pre-Christmas celebration at Police Reserve on Monday where a senior officer from police headquarters including R Chandranathan, DGP, graced the occasion.
As a goodwill gesture, the inmates of Shanti Bhawan, who take care of the old-age people who are either abandoned by their own or have no place to stay, were invited to be part of the celebration.
They were also provided with gifts donated by various well-wishers. Father Barnes Mawrie, SDB prayed for the well-being of the police personnel and their families for the difficult times they had gone through.
The programme also witnessed Christmas carol performed by the musical band, Strait Brothers besides members from the Garo Baptist Church and the Khasi Presbyterian Church.

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