Homes decked up with lights and stars, midnight masses, church services, gifts, carols and feasts -- India, where Christians constitute 2.3 percent of the population, Sunday celebrated Christmas in its joyful spirit.
People met friends and relatives, visited churches, distributed plum cakes and organised parties on the festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
From the north to the south, from the west to the northeast, India, where Christianity is the third largest religion, celebrated Christmas with joy and gusto.
"It's a festival of peace and harmony. People of all religions have come here," Father Maria Susai at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Delhi told IANS.
While for many it was a small family affair, others went for evening balls and parties where they danced to lilting music.
In Kolkata, which has over 90,000 Christians, the fashionable Park Street, which for long has been the epicentre of Christmas festivities, and Bow Barracks, the famous heritage address inhabited by Christians and Anglo-Indians, were soaked in festive spirits.
St. Paul's Cathedral and other churches across West Bengal were crowded by people cutting across religious lines.
Southern star Dhanush added to the Christmas celebrations in Kolkata when he performed his raging hit "Kolaveri Di" to thousands of screaming fans. Dhanush and the song's music director Arvind Ravichander regaled the audience at City Center mall.
Social networking websites were also flooded with Christmas wishes. "Merry Xmas guys...may we all be blessed with peace and contentment..and the happiness to live and love..and be loved," actress Priyanka Chopra tweeted.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan wrote: "Merry christmas my friends...this year try and drop cynicism on twitter and otherwise. Be +ve and be a little more patient with the world. Bless you."
In Mumbai, where over a million Christians reside, special programmes were organised in malls. Cakes in the shape of Christmas trees and Santa were a major hit.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians in the northeast held special prayers in churches across the region for peace and wellbeing of the human race.
Christmas across the eight northeastern states of over 40 million people has always been different from the rest of the country with people from all faiths joining the celebrations, thereby strengthening the bond of mutual respect.
The states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Nagaland are predominantly Christian.
In Kerala, where Christians make up 22 percent of the population, people enjoyed the sumptuous breakfast of 'appam' laced with fresh toddy, chicken stew, steamed banana, egg curry, cake and wine at their homes even as hotels, restaurants and bakeries did brisk business.
A festive atmosphere prevailed in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Medak, Visakhapatnam and other towns of Andhra Pradesh with bursting of crackers and people of all ages attending the midnight services in churches.
In Little England, as Lalaguda in Secunderabad is known, the Anglo-Indian community celebrated the festival by going house to house, singing merrily.
At the historic Church of South India in Medak, about 100 km from Hyderabad, believers carried a decorated cross into the church and placed it before an artificially-created hut.
In the national capital, braving the coldest morning in five years, people from all walks of life reached one of the oldest churches Sacred Heart. The church organised a daylong public mass and an open air theatre with a DJ playing songs.
Olivier Mensah from Togo in Africa missed Christmas back home, but loved the unique mix of cultures in India. "The churches are so grand and beautiful here and so many people of different cultures have come together," said Mensah.
A 35-ft-high sand image of a huge Santa Claus was created at a beach in Odisha by artist Sudarsan Pattnaik. The sculpture bears a message -- "Peace and Prosperity, Health and Happiness".