LAHORE - Like other parts of the country, the Christian community in the city will celebrate Christmas today with traditional enthusiasm and religious zeal. Everyone however is keeping a vigilant eye on the security situation in the wake of a suicide attack on a church in Quetta.

The city has around 438 churches where special Christmas services will be held. At Lahore Cathedral, Bishop Irfan Jamil will lead the prayer and at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Archbishop Sebastian Shah will lead the prayer.  The celebrations are at peak and Christmas trees have been placed at all churches. People have decorated their homes with Christmas trees and decorative lights. In areas like Youhanabad, Bahar Colony, Green Town, Nishtar Colony and Hamza Town, streets have been tastefully decorated with illuminations on all houses and buildings.

Due to security concerns there is no fanfare this year. It is pertinent to mention here that security has been beefed up in the wake of suicide bombing in Quetta’s Bethel Memorial Methodist Church.

Sale of Christmas cakes is at peak and bakeries are running out of stocks. Prices have surged too. Most selling cakes on the eve of Christmas at bakeries are those which have different pictures of Santa Claus.

It is the tradition on Christmas that Santa Claus distributes gifts to children. The last minute Christmas shopping was observed in shopping malls and markets. Shopping malls like Hyperstar, Emporium, Packages Mall, Mall of Lahore, Xinhua Mall and Amna Mall have placed large sized Christmas greetings in and around the malls. Similar is the case with almost all hotels.  On Christmas eve, there is a tradition of singing Christmas carol by choirs in which people go around from house-to-house. They are usually given gifts by people whose houses they visit. Some interfaith Christmas events have also been planned immediately after the Christmas day.