“Jingle Bells Jingle Bells Jingle All the Way!” With this jingle, I am sure; the Christmas is knocking your doorbell! With the whole world, Kolkata is also gearing up to welcome the brightest and the happening festival of the year.
Christmas is not celebrated by the Christians here only. It is not even bounded by any particular faith or religious cores. In this tropical climate hit city, winter is always a welcome break! Its short stay in Kolkata coincides with the birthday of Jesus Christ. And so, the celebration mood doubles up for the Kolkatans at the last holiday of the year.
During the British Era, newly founded ‘City of Joy’ became the winter capital of the British Empire. Christmas was celebrated with the rich buttery smell of the Nahoum’s cake, ball dance parties organized at five star clubs and hotels. As ‘Calcutta’ was just a reflection of London, the Christian dominated areas were brightly lit this season very much in resemblance with the European culture. The most important arena would surely have been Park Street and its suburbs then as well.
Till date, we Kolkatans, maintain the age old legacy. Dance parties are organized at the Bow Barrack area, where the Anglo Indians( a conglomeration of rich British culture with Indian origin) tap their feet with the Christmas Carols. At the juncture of the midnight of the Christmas eve, civilians gather at the premises of St. Paul’s Cathedral for the auspicious Mass. The church bell rings melodiously with the rhythm and the Christmas beats. Bread and wine is offered to God, while silent prayers heel the souls of the bereaved.
Kolkatans start their very special Christmas holiday with a bite on the freshly baked, if possible, homemade Christmas cakes, rich in plum and dry fruits. The enthusiasts cherish the holiday with a visit to the old Alipore Zoo, Maidan, Nicco Park & newly added amusement zone to the maps of the city, the Eco Park. Afternoon lunch remains scheduled with some Christian Family Friends, cherishing some old school music, wine and continental delicacies. Nostalgia pours in round the corner.
Christmas evenings are surely to pay a visit to the famous Park Street area, all decked up with the Christmas tone and galore. Street food, music, balloons, masks – I am sure for a day at least, we Kolkatans imbibe in the rich English culture with pride!
A special mention to the Mother House is worthy here on this note. When people are busy buying gifts for their near and dear ones for this special occasion; the Sisters of the Mother House work relentlessly to gather gifts for the poor and often the neglected class of our society. NGOs and corporates organize camps to support their cause. They walk a thousand miles to bring the token of happiness in the tiny huts. Civilians also generously do their part. Rightly said in a filmy tone “ Don’t underestimate the power of the common man!” Surely, Saint Teresa (our very own Mother) and Saint Nicholas (The good old Santa Claus) will bless us All!
There lies the spirit of Christmas. There starts the glorious journey of Christmas! I am sure, Kolkata is again ready for the extravaganza!
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