SHILLONG, Jan 1 - Along with the rest of the world, people in the State capital Shillong welcomed the New Year with cheer, dance, music and fireworks, even as some others braved the chilly weather and took a dip in icy waters.
A large number of people gathered at Police Bazaar and rejoiced at midnight with the advent of the New Year. In Polo, where the State Arts and Culture department organised a New Year event, people cheered and danced as the clock struck twelve.
There were fireworks at the stroke of midnight and the siren at the State Central Library blew to announce the advent of 2017. In the streets, some vehicles blew their car horns to welcome the New Year.
On the other hand, the Forever Young club held its annual �Midnight Swim� for the 20th consecutive year to welcome the New Year. Micheal Syiem, convenor of the Mait Shaprang Movement, a social organisation, has been organising this midnight swim for the past many years.
One hundred ice blocks, each weighing 50 kgs, were dumped at the Saw Aiom Swimming Pool at Shyiap locality here to make the event more challenging. More than 20 participants took a dip in freezing weather conditions to greet the New Year.
According to Syiem, he has been organising this challenge so that those participating are resolute enough throughout the year in their fight against social evils. Syiem has been fighting for compulsory marriage registration since several years.
Several churches held midnight masses to welcome the New Year. There were also gospel concerts held in some churches in the State capital. People of different faiths visited their places of worship during the day praying for a good year ahead.
Meanwhile, on the occasion, Governor V Shanmuganathan greeted the people. In his message the Governor said: �May the New Year be a messenger of joy, happiness, peace, progress and prosperity for all. Let us pray for the blessings of God.�
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in his New Year�s message hoped that �love, peace and happiness surround each one of us� throughout the year. �Let us sincerely pray that the gracious Almighty God bless us all with the most compassionate and generous heart through a deeper revelation of His love,� he said in his message.
He further wished that �spirit of unity and solidarity would guide us to work together in creating a more inclusive and sustainable society for the growth and prosperity of the State and the nation as a whole.�