Goa set for Christmas celebration with Covid-19 norms in place – shuttle

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Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Goa is all set to herald Christmas festivities from Thursday middle of the night with beaches already crowded and markets abuzz with last-minute shopping by parishioners. Churches and chapels in Goa, which comprises approximately 30 per cent people of Christian faith, are geared up for the middle of the night masses, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, while adhering to the usual operating procedures laid down by the state government.

Residents of Nuvem village in South Goa district have put up Christmas stars along the three-km stretch on a national highway connecting capital city Panaji with Margao. Then again, post-midnight dances have been cancelled at quite a lot of places, officials said.

Talking to PTI, Fr Maverick Fernandes of the Goa Church said, “A middle of the night mass can at a time have up to 200 people, who should care for physical distance, wear masks and sanitise their hands.” He said all of the parishes have been provided the liberty to make a decision the size of crowd for the middle of the night masses.

Another priest from a church in South Goa said the Christmas mass is an event which no one wish to overlook.

“Since the crowd size must be restricted, the number of masses should be increased this year as parishioners wish to attend them,” he said.

“Devout activities are on. But, the dances which was held after the middle of the night mass have been cancelled at quite a lot of places,” he said.

Markets in the state were seen packed with items used to decorate cribs, depicting the birth of Lord Jesus.

“You’re going to find the same number of cribs this time as final year. The COVID-19 restrictions have not dampened the spirits of people,” claimed Agnelo Gracias, a resident of Nuvem village.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed. )

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