London: UK Konkans Celebrate Christmas

London: UK Konkans, a leading association for Konkani speaking community, for the 11th year in succession hosted the much awaited Christmas get-together. Each year, the standard of planning and execution is taken to yet another level. If last year’s celebration excelled in every department, this year’s Christmas celebration was hailed as one of the best in the history of UK Konkans. The warm weather, which is very unusual at this time of the year in London, was a blessing in disguise for the Christmas celebration which was held on 20th December at the Addlestone Community Centre.

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In a country where the true spirit of Christmas has lost its true meaning due to commercialisation, young children aged between 3 to 10, showed that there is still hope to celebrate Jesus’ birth and love.

The programme started with a carol singing followed by Tableau, while Eitan narrated the events of the silent and Holy night, with children as young as 5 years acting out the characters of Mary, Joseph, shepherds and the three wise kings. It was touching to see 3 year old Zoe D’Souza acting as the star of Bethlehem and Simran and Ethan acting as Mary and Joseph cuddling baby Jesus.

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Melwyn Vaz, the master of ceremony for the day, with his jokes and humour justified why he is one of the most sought after Konkani MCs in London.

Tom D’Souza, the charismatic and energetic president of UK Konkans, introduced his team of office bearers and highlighted the support of his team and the volunteers for the success of the event. He also emphasised the message of Christmas – Love is patient and kind. He also reminded that Christmas brings families and friends together, which is one of the aims of UK Konkans. He welcomed the sponsors and guests.

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A well choreographed Garba dance by Konkan ladies – Shanthi, Ruma, Clara, Sheela, Charlotte and Pinki – with colourful attire to the tune of ‘Hosanna Hosanna’ song won the hearts of the crowd.

Teenage sensation, Danika Pinto played a scintillating dance for the tune of Dhol Bhaje. The young UK Konkans star of the future, Tia D’Souza, with her dance for the song ‘Fusion of ManwaLaage/Ambarsariya’ showed the glimpse of what’s to come in the future.

The highlight of the day was the couple’s dance with 80s to 90s Disco. Charlotte & Sylvester started the tempo followed by Alice & Eric D’Souza. When Melwyn invited the disco couples to dance with the crowd, the entire gathering, with the young and the old, were on the dance floor.

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Thomas D’Souza led the grace before meal before the delicious Mangalorean Cuisine, prepared by Mangalorean Chef Naveen, was served. While the children were served food, the elders helped themselves in the open bar.

During lunch, Gratian D’Silva, Shanthi Menezes, Eric D’Souza, Herald D’Souza and Edgar Pinto sang Konkani and Kannada songs.

The Marriage Counselling skit by Tom D’Souza, Eric D’Souza, Thomas D’Souza, Stella Vaz and Shanthi Menezes filled the hall with laughter.

The most awaited and popular guest with Children Father Christmas entered the hall with Jingle bells music in the background. Santa treated the children with sweets.

The duo of D’Silva brothers, Glenish and Glenston, who have been giving dance performances for last 11 years, did not disappoint the crowd with their popular steps.

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Gratian and Sheela D’Silva with their classical movements and Anuj and Ruma Shrivatsava with Punjabi songs had the people tapping their feet. The guests who came with the dancing shoes were not disappointed because Gratia/Sheela and Anuj/Ruma came to the floor to invite the crowd to dance with them.

UK Konkans which has been supporting various charities over the years, dedicated this year’s Kuswar Sale to ‘Snehalaya’ – a Mangalorean Charity that provides shelter and food to orphans, beggars and poor patients of Wenlock hospital.

Throughout the programme, Melwyn kept the audience on the toes with spot prizes, lucky dip and distribution of prizes to the winners.

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Mrs & Mr Richard Lobo, the well known Mangalorean entrepreneur couple, impressed by the children’s performances awarded all the children with individual presents and encouraged them to continue with their interest in cultural activities.

Shanthi Menezes, the secretary of UK Konkans, thanked the main sponsors Sheela and Gratian D’Silva, Christine and Lobo and Vincent Menezes of Diamond Kitchen and Bedrooms, Slough for their sponsorship. She also thanked Mini and Kevin Madtha for the Christmas Hamper and all the members of Kuswar team and the volunteers.

She gave a special thanks to the energetic and young president for the planning and coordination and in making the event successful.

Customary to every UK Konkans event, the entire hall joined for a Baila dance.

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