ANDHRA PRADESH

Santa gets a warm welcome

HYDERABAD, DEC. 6. Santa Claus rode into Hyderabad on his sleigh in style on Monday as the twin cities shifted into a celebration mood quite early in the season.

The warmth generated in the air by carols, thumping music and folk dances helped a lakh-strong crowd who gathered for the Twin Cities Christmas celebrations at the Bison Polo Grounds in Secunderabad, ward off chill. The event had its share of spiritual pep talk as well, led by founders of Jesus Calls Ministries, D.G.S. Dhinakaran and Paul Dhinakaran, along with a host of eminent personalities and religious heads of various churches and institutions.

Testimonies on the occasion came with a dash of glamour added to them as popular actors Jayasudha, Sudhakar, playback singer Srilekha and other cine and music artistes from across the State strode on to the stage. The artists, after the special testimonies, presented a variety of programmes as well, adding colour to the event.

Festivities reached a crescendo for the crowd with a cultural programme that combined Christmas carols, specially choreographed dance performances, a parade of a dozen Santa Clauses and release of balloons.

The Christmas celebrations marked the end of one of the biggest Christian events in the twin cities in the recent past, which had begun with a four-day prayer festival at the same venue.

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