VISAKHAPATNAM: Christmas celebrations began with people dressed in colourful attires gathering in churches for Mass and singing carols.
People decorated their houses with Christmas trees and had family get-togethers as Santa distributed gifts to children.
The merry mood of Christmas started in the city a day earlier when young girls and boys gathered at churches for the midnight Mass and offered prayers, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Streets were filled with youngsters sporting Santa hats, distributing gifts and cakes to their dear ones.
The churches at the busy centres of Jagadamba, Siripuram, Gnanapuram, Allipuram and the NAD were illuminated and decorated with stars and Christmas trees.
While the parents offered prayers, lighted candles, nuns at the church narrated the story of birth of Jesus, showing the colourfully decorated Jesus crib to the children.
As a surprise to the children, some churches arranged Santa Claus welcoming the visitors with toffees.
Cultural events like fancy dress, dance and singing shows were organised in the evening. The families whose children are studying abroad had surprise gifts and cakes from foreign lands. Meanwhile, many home-based bakers in the city which have started the traditional practice of ‘cake mixing’ days ahead of the festival, offered the warm plum cakes in various shapes.
By the evening, city bakeries such as Food Ex, Fresh Choice, Wheat Rich and Karachiwala witnessed huge crowds.
Wooing the children, some bakeries had muffins, cookies, cake pops in the shapes of Santa caps and Xmas trees. The celebration was not limited to the Christians. Major tourist attractions in the city were crowded.
Huge crowds were seen playing on the Beach Road, while many families came for picnics at Kailsagiri, Rushikonda, Mudasarlova and in the agency areas of Araku and Lambasingi.
Meanwhile, churches in Vizianagaram were illuminated and people offered prayers.
Magic show, dancing Santas set tunes for celebrations
Visakhapatnam: Rarely does Christmas fall on Sunday and this year the combination was the best gift for the people. It was a family time for Vizagites as they throng to many hotels which organised special lunch and various entertainment programmes on the special day. The Novotel Hotel built a pretty gingerbread house. On the Christmas day along with the special dinner which included pork, red and mulled wines, it also arranged a performance by the local band Kairoz which sang carols, some Bollywood and English numbers. People enjoyed cocktails, mocktails and tried toppings on deserts on their own, apart from relishing on the cuisine made on a special barbeque. A fun filled show by magician Ravi remained the attraction as the conjurer visited all the tables and performed tricks on the demand, especially for children. And children were a happy lot as Santa Claus distributed gifts. Five Santas danced together to the tunes of jingle bells in a perfect sync. But, among the five, one was the real Santa and the rest were dolls tied up together. The children loved this the most. At another hotel, children had their faces painted in funny way.