Srinagar: The Christmas, birthday of Jesus Christ, was celebrated across the Kashmir Valley on Monday with religious zest and gaiety despite the bone-chilling cold.
After the fire accident which had damaged Holy Family Church Srinagar in 1967, the church celebrated Christmas after fifty years on Monday.The celebrations began with midnight mass prayers and people had decorated the Church with colourful buntings and balloons and wore a festive look.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti had felicitated people of the State on the occasion of Christmas. In her message, the Chief Minister expressed the hope that the holy occasion would be an omen of communal harmony, love for humanity and compassion for all across the world.
Most colourful Christmas celebrations were witnessed at Holy Family Catholic Church, a Roman Catholic Church located at Maulana Azad Road, Srinagar.
The prayers were held at the Holy Family Catholic Church and All Saints’ Church in Srinagar, Saint Joseph’s Church in Baramulla district—the oldest Catholic Church in Jammu and Kashmir. An impressive number of worshipers attended the Christmas prayers.
The devotees in all the churches lauded the communal brotherhood of Kashmir and prayed for peace and prosperity in Kashmir.
When contacted Father Roy of all saints catholic church, Maulana Azad Road he said they prayed for peace, prosperity and brotherhood in the world in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular.
He said people from across the world visit Kashmir during winter and come to churches and celebrates Christmas. Father Roy added that he was happy to see that members of other faiths wish them on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Christmas Mass was also held at St Mary’s Church in tourist destination Gulmarg.
The Santa Claus distributed chocolates and sweets among the children as the Tourism Department ensured gala Christmas celebrations at ski resort Gulmarg.
The Tourism Department in Gulmarg had made elaborate arrangements for making the festival grand lighting up lanterns and organizing cultural programmes.
Director Tourism, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said Gulmarg, being a skiing destination for foreigners across the world we welcome them come to visit the place.
“We are now stepping up tourism promotion by visiting many cities across the country too for tourism seminars, road shows,” he said.
Shah said the officials of the Tourism department would also attend travel and trade fairs to woo more tourists to Kashmir.
The department this week has lined up seminars at Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad in which leading travel agents from across the country and outside have been invited.