Kolkata soaks in Christmas festivities, carols fill air



 Relishing the intoxicating scent of freshly-baked cakes and brewed wines, Kolkata on Wednesday bathed in the Yuletide spirit with people of all ages celebrating Christmas.

Mass prayers and soothing Christmas carols drew the devout by the thousands, but for the eastern metropolis - the capital of British ruled India till 1911 - the day was much more than a religious occasion, but rather a summation of faith, food and frolic.

Hundreds of Christians gathered at the age old St. Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday-Wednesday midnight as the church bells tolled ushering in the festivities.

Decked up in tinsel and twinkling fairy lights, the fashionable Park Street looked bewitching, as a large number of people from the city and the outskirts gathered to have a good time. Colourful snow streamers, sparkling battery-operated stars, snow bells, dancing Santas, musical Christmas trees, foldable trees, wreaths and foldable decorative items and baubles, decor shops lined up a host of ornaments adding the extra glitz to the festivities.

The city's famous heritage address - Bow Barracks - inhabited by Christians and Anglo-Indians, sparkled with songs and dances while the aroma of homemade raisins, ginger wines and cakes filled the atmosphere.

Mother House - the global headquarters of Missionaries of Charity (MoC) founded by St. Teresa - welcomed hundreds of visitors, who started pouring in since morning.

Groups of enthusiastic urban travellers headed to rural Bengal to enjoy the holiday relishing sumptuous feasts and spending quality time with the near and dear ones.

Tourist hotspots like the zoo, Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Nicco Park and the Eco Park saw heavy footfall.

Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, also ushered in Christmas at midnight with prayers and carols as devotees gathered around a Christmas tree.IANS