RAWALPINDI, Dec 25: The Christian community in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad celebrated the Christmas with traditional enthusiasm.

Churches and homes were decorated with glittering Christmas trees and stars. Christian community offered midnight prayers in churches.

Large masses were held at the Saint Joseph’s Cathedral and Christ Church.

As usual Lal Kurti which the city’ Christian neighbourhood with the Catholic cathedral nearby beside the military headquarters was the hub of festivities.

The day started with special Christmas services in the churches and prayers were made for peace and the horrors of war were highlighted in the sermons.

People met each other after the religious services and exchanged Christmas greetings with each other.

Father Anthony Lobo the Bishop of Rawalpindi diocese administered the mass at the Cathedral where large number of Christians participated in the early morning service.

The bishop highlighted the horrors of war and stressed the need to defuse the tension between Pakistan and India. He prayed for peace and urged the participants to spread tolerance.

In Lal Kurti two main communities of Christians, the Tamils and the Goanese, whose forefathers had settled here, celebrated Christmas according to their traditions. They visited the houses of their relatives and enjoyed the traditional festivities such as giving and receiving gifts for the children and eating customary dishes.

Special dishes such as hot cakes full of cream and dry fruits, roast turkey and other delicacies were prepared to offer to the visiting guests and the gifts were put in the decorated Christmas trees for the children to search for their presents.

The provincial government had beefed up security around the churches to meet any untoward incident. Complete searches were made at the service centers before the prayers and the attendants were searched on their entry to the church.

Terence J. Sigamony who celebrated Christmas at Lal Kurti said they had enjoyed the religious occasion peacefully and had prayed for peace and prosperity of their country.

APP ADDS: The Christian community have decorated and illuminated churches in their localities including G-7/2, Ahensa Colony, G-8, Paris Colony F-7 and Tokyo Colony F-7.

Christmas tree and a crib depicting the nativity scene were the most essential adornments of the festivity.

Some churches and institutions also organised Christmas bazaars and cultural shows.

Mass services were held at churches where people gathered and with candles in their hands offered prayers.

The morning services were also offered.

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