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President, Vice-President greet nation on Christmas eve

Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014,22:00 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari today extended their wishes and greetings to fellow countrymen on the eve of Christmas. I extend my warm greetings and good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially our Christian brothers and sisters.
I Wish everyone a merry Christmas, the President said. In his message, Mukherjee said, As we light the candles for Christmas this year, let us rekindle in our minds and hearts the teachings of love and compassion of Lord Jesus Christ. May the spirit of caring and sharing pervade our beings. Let us on this day resolve to apply the divine teachings of Lord Jesus in our daily lives. Let us strive ceaselessly for peace on earth and goodwill among men, he said.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari also conveyed his warm greetings and best wishes to citizens on the auspicious occasion. As we celebrate the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ, let us commit ourselves to his noble message of peaceful coexistence, universal brotherhood and love and compassion for all. May the festival bring peace, prosperity and happiness for all, he said.

People pray at the  Sacred Heart Cathedral on the eve of  Christmas Day in New Delhi on Wednesday.

People pray at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on the eve of Christmas Day in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Biggest twin sand Santa Clause at Puri beach
Bhubaneswar | Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik today claimed to have created two biggest sand Santa Clause and Jesus Christ with a messageĀ  Global Peace and Merry Christmas at the Puri beach on Christmas eve. Sudarsan said he had used about 50 tons of sand to create the 20 feet high twin sand sculptures which took him took about 22 hours to complete. 15 students of his sand art institute had joined hands in his effort. We will appeal to the Limca book of Records to place our sculpture as world’s biggest twin sand Santa Clause, said Sudarsan.

School students dressed as Santa Claus ahead of Christmas day celebrations, in Gurgaon on Wednesday.

School students dressed as Santa Claus ahead of Christmas day celebrations, in Gurgaon on Wednesday.

Christian delegations meet PM, convey Christmas greetings
New Delhi | Christian delegations today called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and greeted him on the eve of Christmas. The delegations included representatives from the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, Archbishop Anil JT Couto, and Vasanthi Stanley, Ex-MP, a PMO statement said.

A child from Dofteana, northern Romania , wearing a bear fur, looks inside a passing car while performing a holiday season ritual in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. In pre-Christian rural traditions, dancers wearing colored costumes or animal furs, touring house to house in villages singing and dancing to ward off evil. In recent years following the economic downturn in Romania, a European Union member since 2007, the tradition has moved to Romania's cities where dancers travel to perform the ritual for money during the Christmas and New Year's period.

A child from Dofteana, northern Romania , wearing a bear fur, looks inside a passing car while performing a holiday season ritual in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. In pre-Christian rural traditions, dancers wearing colored costumes or animal furs, touring house to house in villages singing and dancing to ward off evil. In recent years following the economic downturn in Romania, a European Union member since 2007, the tradition has moved to Romania’s cities where dancers travel to perform the ritual for money during the Christmas and New Year’s period.

Christmas pilgrims gather in Bethlehem after hard year
Bethlehem (Palestinian Territories) | Pilgrims from across the world descended on Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem today to begin the global celebration of Christmas after a violence-plagued year brought suffering to many Middle Eastern Christians. The not-so-little West Bank town was bustling with activity ahead of the biggest night of the year which will culminate in midnight mass at the Nativity Church built over the spot where Mary gave birth to Jesus.
In Manger Square outside the church, a man dressed as Father Christmas was handing out sweets and the wail of bagpipes rang out as troops of Palestinian scouts marched past a giant green Christmas tree decorated with red, black and silver baubles — the colours of the Palestinian flag. But for many faithful across the region, the festivities will be tinged with sadness following a year of bloodshed marked by a surge in the persecution of Christians that has drawn international condemnation.

Pakistani Christians decorate a church in preparation for the upcoming Christmas holiday in Islamabad's slums, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014.

Pakistani Christians decorate a church in preparation for the upcoming Christmas holiday in Islamabad’s slums, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014.

No quailing as Chinese man eats 160 eggs to mark Christmas
Beijing | A Chinese competitive eater who marked the Christmas season by consuming 160 eggs in one sitting said today he was in good health and planned more extreme stunts. Pan Yizhong, 46, sported a red and white Santa hat as he gobbled 150 quail eggs and 10 chicken eggs in less than 40 minutes yesterday to promote a restaurant in central China’s Hunan province. The Chinese word for Christmas — Shengdanjie — contains a character which is a homophone for egg, and Pan said it seemed like an appropriate time to eat eggs.
Quail eggs are significantly smaller than chickens’ eggs, and pictures showed him shoving several into his mouth simultaneously. At the time I got to 160, I was becoming tired of the flavour so I stopped. It wasn’t because I was full, he told AFP. Pan, the most celebrated exponent of the art of competitive eating in China, has previously dispatched 147 dumplings in a single sitting and once polished off 40 bowls of noodles in 15 minutes.
Now I’m back to normal, I’ve had ice cream and barbequed meat since, Pan said. As a competitive eater, I want to test my limits eating all kinds of food. Christmas — once banned in China — has grown rapidly in recent years mainly as a shopping festival, with marketeers using everything from saxophones and Smurfs to steam trains to get consumers to open their wallets. I never tried eating so many eggs before, and I feel I still haven’t reached my limit, Pan added.