GEORGE TOWN: Thousands of tourists and locals flocked to famous haunts on the island, joining in the festive mood of the Christmas countdown.
Christians congregated at various churches to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ and share the joy of singing Christmas carols.
The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Macalister Road here saw the Filipino community in the state gathering for the 7.30pm Tagalog service while others packed the church for the English mass at 9.30pm.
It was also a hive of activity at several hotspots for revellers with merrymakers taking advantage of the weekend to join in the Christmas countdown.
Police and Penang Island City Council enforcement officers were spotted at various hotspots to monitor the situation.
The iconic St George’s Church on the corner of Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling in the island’s heritage enclave was also packed, with many standing for the two-and-a-half-hour “Christmas Midnight Holy Eucharist Service” that started at 10.30pm.
Bishop Charles Samuel led the service with the sharing of the gospel and the singing of hymns and carols.
At the stroke of midnight, loud cheering and whistles were heard as revellers exchanged festive wishes at the promenade in Gurney Drive and Karpal Singh Drive.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, a crowd also gathered at Juru Auto-City in Seberang Prai to usher in the annual Christmas countdown there.
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