Thiruvananthapuram: Keralites Friday celebrated Christmas with traditional fervour and piety rejoicing the birth of Jesus Christ with the faithful thronging churches for special prayers and midnight mass.
As church bells tolled signalling the moment of nativity, the faithful congregated for the midnight service in cathedrals and churches across the state where senior bishops and priests conducted special masses and gave out the Christmas message.
While Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis led the midnight mass at St Mary's Cathedral of Syro Malankara Catholic Church at Pattam here, Archbishop Soosa Pakiyam led the prayers at the St Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral at Palayam here.
Syro Malabar Catholic Church Major Archbishop Cardinal M George Alenchery led the service and gave out the Christmas message at St Mary's Basilica in Ernakulam.
To add to the festive spirit, churches, homes and commercial establishments were tastefully decorated with stars and cribs depicting the nativity scene. A variety of cakes beckoned festive goers in different bakeries.
The state, where Christians account for nearly one-fourth of the population, has been in the grip of festive mood for the last several days.
Carol groups of churches and art clubs have been busy visiting houses singing traditional Christmas songs.
Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan and leaders of different parties greeted the people on the occasion of Christmas.