Meghalaya welcomed the New Year on Monday with prayers and revelry as people thronged temples, beaches and hotels and wished each other at midnight.

Another group of revellers greeted the New Year by plunging into a swimming pool’s icy water at the stroke of midnight.

This time, the revellers had decided to make the New Year celebration more interesting by placing three and a half tonnes of ice in the Crinoline swimming pool before taking the midnight dip.

“This is our style to welcome the New Year with a prayer to God to give us the strength to face the challenges of life,” said Michael Syiem, the man behind the event.

Participants were not allowed to take any kind of intoxicants ahead of the event as the organisers felt that drinking would negate the event’s objective.

“Greeting New Year does not essentially mean drinking and frolicking but this celebration of ours is to strengthen ourselves through challenges of life,” Syiem told IANS.

The midnight dip attracted tourists from other states too.

The celebrations passed off peacefully as police had made elaborate security arrangements to prevent untoward incidents.

Extending his good wishes to the people, Governor Ganga Prasad said: “Let us resolve to usher in harmony, equity and goodwill, re-dedicate ourselves to the values with which the state was formed and join earnestly, in its quest for peace and the prosperity.”

Added Chief Minister Mukul Sangma: “Let us march forward with optimism and determination, reaffirming our commitment to work relentlessly together for peace, progress and prosperity of the state. May the light of love, hope and happiness surround each one of us this New Year.”

2018 is special to Meghalaya as the people will be electing their new representatives to the 60-member House in February.