The merriment started from midnight as bells tolled and worshippers thronged churches and cathedrals decorated with twinkling lights for the midnight service as priests dished out Christmas messages.

People, attired in their best, bonded in prayer and mirth as sparkling Christmas trees and colourful gift items adorned market places that wore a festive look. Even non-Christians were seen celebrating the festival as long queues were observed in bakeries to buy cakes and cookies on the occasion.

People used WhatsApp, Facebook and other modern means of communication to send Christmas greetings to their families and loved ones. Shops and malls stocking Christmas merchandise were inundated with shoppers as exchange of greetings and gifts, community feasts and colourful processions marked the occasion.

A large number of revellers also reached prominent shopping centres like Connaught Place and tourist spots like India Gate to enjoy the festivities on the holiday. Traditional Christmas carols rendered the air festive as gospel bands enthralling the merry-makers with songs like 'Jingle Bells', 'Oh Holy Night' and 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town'.

It was a busy day for Santa Claus with several children flocking to the rotund man in red with a white flowing beard for gifts and sweets. Sumptuous feasts, including delicacies like cakes, formed an important part of the celebrations in many homes.

(Agencies)

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