Christmas zeal, fervour spreads in northeastern states

Aizawl/Kohima/Agartala, Dec 25 : Christmas was celebrated Wednesday in churches and homes across northeast India with special prayers and worship programmes.

Over 5.3 million Christians live in Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur while there are a considerable number of Christians in the other northeastern states as well.

The celebrations began Tuesday midnight with church services and fellowships where the congregation sang Christmas songs and hymns, and both western and local songs composed by spiritualists.

In Aizawl, police officials said the Christmas celebrations were peaceful.

"Heavy security arrangements have been made in the capital city (Aizawl) and other parts of the state (bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh) to hold the festivities peacefully," senior police official L.R. Dingliana Sailo told reporters.

The traditional festive spirit was everywhere as Aizawl city and other towns of the mountainous Mizoram wore festive looks with decoration and lights all over.

Praise and worship services marked the Christmas Day and the community feasts would be held Wednesday and Thursday in majority of the villages and localities of the urban Mizoram.

The festive spirit spread wide in Nagaland as the Christmas celebrations started at the stroke of midnight when church bells rang out signalling the birth of Jesus Christ.

Churches, private and government buildings, markets and homes have been decked up and illuminated in Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung towns and various other small places.

Shoppers have been thronging markets for the last few days, while people staying elsewhere and students pursuing careers in other states have returned home to join the festivities and add to the cheer.

Various state governments in the region have announced holidays for several days so that people join their near and dear ones in Christmas celebrations.

Governors and chief ministers of the northeastern states have wished the people on the occasion.

Churches in Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya play a very active role in the life and culture of the northeastern states.

"Christianity is the harbinger of modernity as well as women's liberation in Mizoram. The Christian missionaries, therefore, are regarded as a symbol of modernisation, leading to gradual changes in the conservative attitude of men towards women," a Church head, Zosangliana Colney, told reporters in Aizawl.

"The Tripura government has been supplying electricity to Mizoram, Meghalaya and other northeastern states to help these states to meet their additional power requirements on the occasion of the Christmas," Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey told IANS.

He said that during the Durga Puja festival, Mizoram, Meghalaya and other northeastern states had been providing electricity to Tripura to meet its additional requirement of power.

--IANS (Posted on 25-12-2013)

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