SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Christian community in Indian-controlled Kashmir Wednesday held special prayers to celebrate Christmas.
The main religious ceremony was held in Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The community members gathered at the Holy Family Catholic church, the main church in Srinagar to listen to the religious address. The chief priest dressed in elegant robes delivered the Christmas address and later on prayed for welfare of their community and people around the globe.
"Christmas marks the birthday of Jesus Christ and today Christians around the globe celebrate this festival," said Sara Smith, a Christian devotee in the Srinagar's Holy Family Catholic church. Smith along with her husband had come from Baramulla to attend the special prayers at the church.
Churches in the region were decorated with buntings and lights. The devotees had erected Christmas trees in the churches.
Similar functions were held at Anantnag town, 60 km south of Srinagar and Baramulla town, 52 km northwest of Srinagar. In these districts the Christian community members are running maternity hospital and school.
Christians are a minority in Indian-controlled Kashmir and most of the community members staying here are part of missionaries engaged in providing health care and education.
A special Christmas function was also held at a church in world famous ski resort of Gulmarg. Many foreign tourists took part in the celebration in this snow bound tourist spot.
Foreigners came to spend holidays in the region were also seen attending the functions at church in Srinagar.
Christian community members were seen exchanging gifts and greeting cards. In Srinagar and Jammu cities some shops has put various decorations including Christmas trees, lights and garlands on display.
The local Muslims also thronged churches to greet their Christian friends.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir Christmas day is an official holiday.
The region's Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister extended greetings to the people on the occasion of Christmas and expressed the hope that festival would strengthen communal ties between the people.
Christianity is considered to be the world's biggest religion. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.