Hyderabad, December 25 (IANS): After two years of low-key celebrations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Christmas was celebrated with the usual grandeur and gaiety in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Sunday.
A large number of people attended the midnight mass and special Sunday morning prayers.
After midnight there were special prayers in the churches, caroling and Santa Secret in the workplaces and the explosion of firecrackers were among the celebrations.
Churches in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad were beautifully decorated and illuminated on the occasion. Devotees were seen thronging the churches since Saturday night.
Churches from other villages in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also witnessed special prayers.
The festivities began with midnight mass in the many churches of Secunderabad, which has a large Christian population.
There was a festive atmosphere as people exchanged Christmas greetings and gifts. The church organized different cultural programs for the elderly, couples, youth and children.
Large congregations were seen at SCI Wesley Church and the 200-year-old St. John’s Church in Secunderabad. Devotees also attended St Mary’s Church, All Saints Church, Wesley Church, Holy Trinity Church and Millennium Methodist Church. The priests prayed for peace and emphasized the message of the birth of Jesus.
The Anglo-Indian community of Lalaguda in Secunderabad celebrated Christmas enthusiastically and in a traditional way. In Little England, as Lalaguda is called, the community celebrates the festival in its own unique style.
Making cakes and wine at home is a part of community celebrations.
Dressed in their best, men, women and children attended midnight services in specially decorated churches.
Christian families cut 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) in Medak, about 100 km from Hyderabad.
Medak Church, the second largest of its kind in Asia, was built between 1914 and 1924. It has been built in granite in the Gothic style, with the story of the Bible painted on its stained glass windows. They lit up the historic church.
Celebrations were also held in Khammam, Adilabad and other towns in Telangana. In Andhra Pradesh, celebrations were held in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Ongole, Kadapa, Bheemavaram and other towns.
Christmas celebrations were also held in Andhra Pradesh’s capital Amaravathi. In Prakasam district, pastors offered special prayers at the century-old historic Chirala St Louis Marks Lutheran Church.
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy extended greetings to the people.
The Telangana Governor, in his message, stated that Christmas is a joyous time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and cherish his ideals.
“His life symbolizes love, forgiveness, truth, mercy, brotherhood and sacrifice. I want this Christmas to bring us all boundless joy, love, peace and prosperity. In the true spirit of Christmas, let us resolve to make this world more prosperous, healthy, peaceful and compassionate,” he said.
Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao stated that the teachings of Jesus Christ, which spread the values of peace, compassion, tolerance and love to the world, contributed to universal human brotherhood.
CM KCR said that on one hand, the fields of science and technology are advancing tremendously and on the other, human values are disappearing. “At this time, the teachings of Christ are important. It is essential to practice the great virtue of forgiving the enemy, showing love, mercy and patience towards people,” he said.