PANAJI: Prayers, midnight masses and carols sung in praise of Lord Jesus ushered in the Christmas festivities in Goa where several people gathered at churches and beaches for the celebrations held throughout the night.
The streets of capital city Panaji were crowded with people who participated in the celebrations till the early hours of Monday after attending the midnight masses in churches. The famous Church Square in the heart of Panaji turned into a sea of people, as a large number of tourists have also arrived for the Christmas and New Year celebrations in the coastal state, which has about 30 per cent Christian population.
Keeping with the festive spirit, Goans decked up their houses in colourful lights and put up beautifully decorated cribs, depicting the birth of Lord Jesus. At Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panaji, devotees started gathering from 11 pm on Sunday to attend the prayers.
With the ringing of bells at midnight, the birth of Lord Jesus was celebrated at the church and other parishes.
Goa’s beaches were crowded as night-long celebrations were organised at various beach shacks. Several tourists also joined the locals in the celebrations which continued till the early hours of Monday.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in a message on Sunday said Christmas is the festival of happiness celebrated across the globe with great grandeur and enthusiasm. ”The day commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ and rekindles the spirit of peace and harmony. It’s a day of giving. On this fortunate occasion, we deeply remember Lord Jesus, who spread the valuable message of sacrifice, love, tolerance and preached the sublime qualities of simplicity and mercy,” the CM said.
May good health, development and communal harmony spread with the arrival of Christmas, he said. ”Let us rededicate ourselves to work for greater glory of the state by strengthening brotherly ties. May the festivities continue to radiate everyone’s lives bringing boundless joy to everyone,” Sawant added.