Braving the unusual winter chill, Christians rang in Christmas on Friday by singing carols, lighting candles and attending midnight mass in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.
Thousands of faithful, attired in their best, attended midnight masses in hundreds of churches in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Nashik, Raigad, Ratnagiri and other cities, even as temperatures plummeted to single-digit or below average in many parts of Maharashtra.
Christians hugged each other, shook hands and greeted each other ‘Merry Christmas’ and soaked in the celebrations. People from other communities also joined their Christian brethren in the celebrations.
Lightings, decorations and thematic Chrismas cribs were set up in homes in Christian- dominated localities of Mumbai like Borivali, Kandivali, Orlem, Malvani, Andheri, Santacruz, Bandra, Mahim, Mazagaon, Byculla and Colaba, and the fishing villages in the coastal Konkan belt.
Hotels, restaurants and eateries have made special decorations and menu arrangements for Christmas, which will continue till the New Year.
Several non-governmental and social organisations and corporate houses also arranged for special Christmas celebrations for the underprivileged children, while visitors to shopping malls were greeted men dressed as Santa Claus, who distributed gifts and sweets to kids.