Delhi celebrates Christmas with carols and candles

New Delhi, Dec 25 : The festive spirit gripped the national capital Wednesday on the occasion of Christmas as people flocked to churches to light candles and pray for peace and harmony.

The decorated cathedrals saw people irrespective of faith and religion - bundled in woollens and wearing bright smiles - light candles and greet each other Merry Christmas.

"I believe this is a festival for everyone. You can see people from all faiths present here in the church, it's a cultural and religious amalgamation," said 23-year-old Thomas Phillips at Sacred Heart Cathedral near Connaught Place in central Delhi.

"The carols, cakes, parties, and to top it all gifts add to the festivities and you can't resist but indulge in it," he added.

George Kutty, 51, who attended the Christmas mass at the Baptist church in central Delhi's Karol Bagh area, said he prayed for the well-being of his family and friends on the sacred day.

"Lord Jesus was born on this day so it definitely calls for celebrations," he said adding that carol singing and bonfires were held in churches Tuesday evening till midnight-when Jesus is believed to be born.

Delicious cakes loaded with dry fruits, especially those made with rum are highlight of the festival and usually exchanged between friends and families in addition to Christmas cards and gifts.

Popular markets around the city were ornamented as Delhiites shopped for Christmas trees, Santa hats, decorative lights, and other festival peripherals apart from food, wine and clothes.

"Every year on Christmas friends and relatives come over at our place after the church for a party and a lavish feast which includes roast turkey, chicken, plum cakes, muffins is prepared," said Anita Verghese (42), a resident of south Delhi's R.K. Puram.

Several clubs and restaurants in the cities have also planned Christmas parties in the evening in addition to special offers and discounts to cash in on the festivities.

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

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