Like other parts of the world, preparations to celebrate Christmas has reached a feverish pitch in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.
Preparations will reach climax with the jingling of bells and hymns at churches at the midnight of December 24 when people at the cosmopolitan hill station sing “Joy to the world, the Christ is born.”
In this picturesque hill station of Shillong, capital of the predominantly Christian Meghalaya, choir groups belt out carols in churches and public places. The toll of the church bells rent the air. Churches and houses are already illuminated with lights.
Christmas trees, the most significant religious insignia, ranging from Rs 600 to Rs 25,000 are being displayed at churches. These trees attract children and youngsters alike.
The preparations for annual bam khana krismas (Christmas feast) on the Boxing Day (December 26) have been finalised at their respective churches and Christian-run educational institutions.
“Christmas is season of peace, and the yuletide spirit has already set in to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year,” Jovi Suchiang said.
Various Christian denominations have already drawn out their plans for the festival season.
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“Like in the past, our choir has been practising the usual songs that are sung during the Christmas season. We are having special practice sessions,” Annie Lyngdoh said.
“Not only in the church, this time we have plans to visit the homes of all our members and sing together,” she added.
With the yuletide spirit high, all roads in Shillong from across Meghalaya, especially in the Khasi and Jaintia hills are leading towards Khyndai Lad (Police Bazaar) to Iewduh for Christmas shopping.
In fact, the Meghalaya police have even issued strict orders to its traffic personnel to tow away vehicles parked at unauthorised zones at Police Bazaar (Khyndai Lad) to ease traffic congestion.
Christmas bells, the holly and all other festive paraphernalia have been put out for sale in markets which are chock-a-block with shoppers in Shillong.
— The Shillong Times (@ShillongTimesIn) December 20, 2022
From leading garment shops to cake shops and gift shops, people are seen thronging to get the best one for themselves and their loved ones.
“The flow of shoppers has increased, and we are open till very late. People buy gifts for friends and families as well as fashionable clothes,” said Nana Modrani, owner of Uncle Shop, one of the oldest garment shops in Shillong.
Though inflation soaring high, consumers are making all sure to get the best they can.
“Everything is so expensive, but nonetheless I have to get something as this is only the season where I wanted to present special gifts to my parents,” Matthias Sohtun, who is busy looking for Christmas gift at a gift shop.
However, Elias Kharkrang said: “It is the spirit of Christians to give the received gifts to others but for me personally Christmas is an occasion of re-union of the dear and near ones to share bliss and delight.”
“Jesus Christ completely identified himself with the poor, deprived and the needy adding the need of the time is to revive that spirit even today,” Elias said.