Singers at your door

CAROLLING

Singers at your door

Jingle bells: Very few youngsters make an effort to go out for carol singing.

Christmas carols were banned from churches in England for a brief period by Oliver Cromwell. Hence the tradition of carol singers going from door to door came about and became an integral part of Christmas traditions everywhere.

“The sound of carol singers at the door at Christmas time was as traditional as mince pies, mulled wine and roast turkey. From the 21st of December till Christmas day, it was not unusual to have at least three groups drop by every evening and sing Christmas carols which went perfectly with the aroma of home-baked cakes, kul kuls and cookies.”

 “The peppy groups would not leave until they shared some of  the goodies and collected a small offering for charity.” says Sheela Patrice, who remembers a fast-fading Bangalore tradition with nostalgia.

Today, except for a few church groups who limit themselves to their parishioners homes, very few carollers venture out into the City to sing the Christmas message out loud.
“Everybody is either too busy or simply cannot be bothered. We have also become a society that is wary of strangers and would prefer to limit our festive interaction to people we know,” she adds.

Today hotel lobbies, malls and stores have carol singers but they are very different in character from the friendly groups that used to visit homes in the neighbourhood dressed in the Christmas colours or as characters from a nativity scene to ring in the season of good cheer.

“There used to be at least 40 of us dressed like shepherds, angels, kings. We used to go out for three nights in a row from December 21 in a large open van. Of course, we would warn our friends we were coming but we would also drop into houses unannounced. It was great fun. Now most of us are either caught up in our hectic lives or cannot think of the dealing with the traffic so we haven’t gone carolling for six years,” says Sujay Roberts, a young techie who feels that carolling is indeed a part of  a bygone Bangalore tradition.

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