Special prayers in churches since midnight, carols, bursting of fire crackers marked the celebrations in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and other towns of tghe state.
A festive atmosphere prevailed in Secunderabad, which has a sizeable population of Christians.
A major congregation was held at 200-year-old St John's Church in Secunderabad. Hundreds of Christians also attended St Mary's Church, All Saint's Church and Millennium Methodist Church. The priests prayed for peace and highlighted the message of Jesus' birth.
Congress legislator and former minister P. Shankar Rao was among those who attended the services at St Mary's Church.
The Anglo-Indian community in Lalaguda in Secunderabad celebrated Christmas with enthusiasm and in a traditional manner. In Little England, as Lalaguda is known, the community celebrates the festival in their own style with groups of men and women going from house to house and singing carols merrily.
The celebrations were also held at Hyderabad, Medak, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Ongole, Kadapa, Bheemavaram, Khammam and other towns.
Attired in their best, men, women and children attended the midnight services in specially decorated churches. Prayers in some churches began early Wednesday.
Christian families cut the cakes as part of the celebrations and greeted each other on the occasion.
The three-day celebrations also began at the historic Church of South India (CSI) at Medak, about 100 km from here. Believers carried a decorated cross into the church and placed it before a specially-erected hut.
Presbyter in-charge Reverend Robinson and CSI Medak diocese vice-chairman Reverend A.C. Solomon addressed the gathering, highlighting the message of peace of Jesus Christ.
Medak Church, the second biggest of its kind in Asia, was constructed between 1914 and 1924. It has been built with granite in the Gothic style with story of Bible painted on its stained glass windows.
Devotees from different parts of the state and also neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra participate in the celebrations at the church.
YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy with his mother Y.S. Vijayamma and other family members joined in the prayers at CSI church at Pulivendula town in Kadapa district.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP N. Nageswara Rao and former minister T. Nageswara Rao prayed at CSI church in Khammam.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and leaders of various political parties greeted people on the occasion of Christmas.
--IANS (Posted on 25-12-2013)