KERALA

X'mas celebrated with traditional gaiety

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Dec. 25. Special prayers, holy mass, distribution of sweets, carol singing and family get-togethers marked Christmas celebrations in the city.

The churches in and around the city conducted midnight mass on Tuesday. The bishop, Dr. Soosapackiam led the holy mass organised at the Palayam St. Joseph's Cathedral. Special morning and evening services were conducted here on Wednesday in connection with Christmas.

Large number of devotees took part in the holy mass organised at the Pattom St. Mary's Church, Malankara church at Palayam, St. George Orthodox Church, Lourde Forane church at PMG junction, St. Peter's Jacobite church at Punnen road and also at the Madre De Deus church at Vettukad. Special masses were also held in the church adjacent to the Bishop's House at Vellayambalam.

While many socio-cultural organisations distributed sweets and gifts in the orphanages, it was a different kind of Christmas celebration at the Central Prison at Poojappura. A Kottayam-based NGO, `Corrections India', which has been running a rehabilitation centre for the children of prisoners, organised a get-together of the prisoners and their children on the jail premises.

The festivities titled `Happy Christmas Daddy' were inaugurated by the DIG (Prisons), T. S. Reghupathi. As many as 50 children were able to spent about three hours with their parents. Distribution of cakes and sweets and various cultural programmes were organised.

Special Christmas celebrations and reading of the Christmas message of Sathya Sai Baba marked the celebrations at the Madhuvanam Sri Sathya Sai Trust at the Sathya Sai ashram at Puliyarakonam in the city. Special prayers were also organised at the Isalayam at Anayara as part of Christmas celebrations.

A United Christmas rally was organised at Christ Nagar at Perungadavila, near Neyyatinkara, by the United Christian Movement. A cultural meeting was organised at Marayamuttam.

Distribution of gifts by Santa Claus and special feasts were the highlights of the celebrations organised in some hotels at Kovalam.