Bonhomie everywhere

Jingle bells

Bonhomie everywhere

Christmas is not only about celebrating the birth of the Christ but also spreading joy and happiness. Getting together and partaking the food is a big part of the celebration. People may be busy racing against time to meet the deadlines but this is the one time when they slow down and make time to be with their family and friends.

Most churches across the City are decorated, completed with cribs, lights and Christmas trees. There was a midnight mass in all the churches, while prominent churches, such as Infant Jesus Shrine, St Mary’s Basilica, Francis Xavier Cathedral, St Mark’s Cathedral and Trinity Church, have two or three masses on the Christmas Day.

For most people, the day begins with a visit to the church and distributing homemade sweets and cakes to their family and friends. A lavish meal is laid out for lunch and dinner. The preparations for Christmas day begins much in advance. The spirit remains, only the mode of celebration differs from one community to another.

The Anglo-Indians have a long and unique tradition that binds the community during Christmas. Louis D' Rozario, an Anglo-Indian, is a stickler for tradition. “The celebrations start well before Christmas during the season of Advent, which is a time of expectant waiting and the celebration begins with the birth of Christ and ends at the feast of Epiphany (the feast of the three kings) on January 6,” he explains. He further states that the feast is marked by singing, dancing, beautiful decorations and sumptuous food. “All the Christmas goodies such as plum cakes, ‘kulkuls’, rose cookies and puddings are traditional recipes that have been handed down from generations in our home. Christmas dinner is not complete without chicken and turkey roast, cold meat and sausages,” adds Louis.  

Christmas is about elaborate feasting. The classic Christmas menu is never complete without a classic pot roast lunch, homemade wine and cake baked in nuts, fruits topped with a tinge of brandy and of course, plenty of homemade traditional sweets. Sophie doesn’t remember a single Christmas where her mother hasn’t baked the traditional plum cake. “Now, my sister and I, although we both are married, help our mother with making all the goodies. We have also experimented with different flavours of cake, which include banana walnut cake, chocolate wine cake and chocolate brownie,” explains Sophie.

She says that the Christmas morning begins with a round of ‘appam’ and ‘chicken stew’ followed by a heavy lunch that includes ‘grilled chicken’, ‘fish’, ‘mutton’ and sometimes even turkey. “Christmas is all about being with family and we also try to add some social responsibilities where we visit a few orphanages or old age home and try to do something for them,” she adds.

There’s a lot of care taken to ensure that every member of the family feels special during Christmas. Binu P and his family begin their Christmas morning with a Christmas mass and after a round of wishing each other, they begin to open their presents. “It is an occasion to be together and meet people who we haven’t met for a long time. We make it a point to make every meal very different and unique. We make ‘palappam’ with fish molly for breakfast, duck fry, special beef fry, ‘crab masala’ for lunch and we bake chocolate cake and banana chips for evening snacks,” says Binu.

There are a lot of non-Christians too, who love celebrating the feast and jamming up with friends to make the most of the holiday. Namrata and her husband Sujoy love cooking and every Christmas, they dish out a variety of delicacies in chicken, pork, vegetable and of course, the roasted turkey. “We have a close group of friends in the City and every Christmas and New Year we get together, as a family and make a lot of noise. There’s  a barbecue and we just chill out and have a good time eating together,” explains Namrata.

Mass timings 

St Mary's Basilica
(December 25)
 6 am    –    English
 7 am    –    Tamil
 8 am    –    Tamil
 9.15 am    –    Kannada
 11 am     –    Tamil

Infant Jesus Shrine

(December 25)
 5.45 am    –    Tamil
 7 am    –    English
 8.30 am    –    Tamil
 10 am    –    Kannada
 11.15AM     –    Tamil

St Mark’s Cathedral
English service at 8.30 am and 10.30 am

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