SHILLONG, Dec 25 - Along with the rest of the world, Christmas was celebrated with prayers and festivities in Meghalaya but in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Midnight masses were held in churches and cathedrals across the State. The prayer services were led by Pastors and Bishops in these places of worship of different denominations.
At the stroke of midnight, people burst crackers as they got into a festive mood. Most of the houses were adorned with Christmas trees, stars and lights. All churches, missionary schools and institutions were also decorated with colourful buntings and lights.
Apart from the churches, Ramakrishna Mission Shillong celebrated Christmas Eve on Thursday at Laitumkhrah Ashram with the singing of carols and discourses. Fr Himangshu Christian of All Saints� Cathedral graced the occasion. This is an annual event of the Mission.
At the churches, people offered prayers and greeted each other by following the standard operating procedures laid down by the State government in view of the pandemic. Fr John Madur, the diocesan administrator of Shillong Archdiocese, said the church followed the �protocols strictly�.
�Our volunteers ensured social distancing while making seating arrangements for the service and at the entry and exit points to the church,� he said.
Church Pastors and leaders appealed for love, peace and compassion on the occasion. Exchange of greetings and gifts, visits to relatives� places, and feasts marked celebrations across the State where over 80 per cent of the population is Christian.
Various political leaders greeted the people on the occasion of Christmas, which included Governor Satya Pal Malik and Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. The Governor, in his greetings, said: �May your home be filled with joy and love this Christmas season.�
Sangma on the other hand greeted the people and said: �May the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ usher in the spirit of love, unity, fellowship and brotherhood amongst all of us.�