Aizawl/Kohima/Agartala: Christmas was celebrated Thursday across northeast India with special prayers, hymns, and mass in churches, besides the traditional spread of delicious food.
Over 5.3 million Christians live in Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur while there are a significant number of Christians in the other northeastern states.
The celebrations began from Wednesday night with church services and fellowships where the congregation sang Christmas carols - both western and local songs, composed by the local spiritualists and composers.
In Mizoram capital Aizawl, police officials said the Christmas eve celebrations Wednesday night were completely peaceful.
"Heavy security arrangements have been made in the capital city (Aizawl) and other parts of the state to hold the festivity peacefully," senior police official L.R. Dingliana Sailo told reporters.
The traditional festive spirit was evident everywhere as Aizawl city and other places of Mizoram were bathed in decorations and illuminations.
Praise and worship services marked the Christmas and community feasts would be held Thursday and Friday in most of the villages and localities of the urban areas.
The festive spirit has also gripped the plains, hills and valleys of Nagaland as Christmas celebrations started with the stroke of midnight when church bells rang, signalling the birth of Jesus Christ.
Churches, private and government buildings, schools, markets and homes have been decked up and illuminated in Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung and several other towns and villages of predominantly Christian Nagaland.
Shoppers have been thronging markets for the last few days, while people staying elsewhere and students pursuing academic careers in other states have returned their hearths and homes join the festivities.
Various state governments in the region have announced holidays for several days to enable the people to join Christmas celebrations.
Governors and chief ministers of the northeastern states have wished the people on the occasion.
Churches in Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya play a very active role in the life and culture of the northeastern states.
"Christianity is the harbinger of modernity as well as women's liberation in Mizoram. The Christian missionaries, therefore, are regarded as a symbol of modernisation, leading to gradual changes in the conservative attitude of men towards women," a Church head Zosangliana Colney told reporters in Aizawl.
"In a reciprocal gesture, Tripura government has been supplying electricity to Mizoram (15 MW) and Meghalaya (20 MW) to help these states to meet their additional power requirements on the occasion of the Christmas," Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey told IANS.
He said during the Durga Puja, Mizoram and Meghalaya provided electricity to Tripura to meet its additional requirement of power. Non-Christians are also participating in the celebrations and feasts organised by various Christian organisations.