Panaji: The Christmas festivities here began when the clock stroke 12 at midnight with people gathering in large numbers at decked-up churches to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
Scores of people including foreigners and tourists attended the prayers to celebrate the festival with great fervour and gaiety.
Adding more joy to the festival, the Goa traffic police personnel dressed as Santa Claus and distributed sweets to commuters here and used the opportunity to raise traffic rules awareness on Tuesday.
“It was not just about distributing chocolates. We stopped all the people who were violating traffic rules and educated them about their safety. We used this occasion to spread the message in our own way,” Panaji Traffic Police Inspector Brandon D’Souza told ANI.
The midnight mass was held in several major churches across the country, including the St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Bengaluru, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa, Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gol Dak Khana, Delhi, St Joseph’s Cathedral in Thiruvananthapuram, St Michael’s Church in Mumbai, Church of Christ the King in Kolkata, among others.
Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day.
Wearing their choicest attire, people at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa sung carols and read the story of Jesus Christ’s birth from the Bible.