Christmas Regains Pomp & Exuberance in City with Fun Post Two Years of Pandemic
Mangaluru: On 24 December Christmas eve night and on 25 December day the traditional zeal, pomp, and enthusiasm were seen in public places, where people from different communities celebrated Christmas. After almost two years of festivities being dampened by the Covid-19 pandemic, massive crowds thronged churches across Mangaluru City named as “Rome of the East” on the occasion of Christmas with special midnight masses, pealing bells, and the singing of carols. People prepared grand feasts and sang Christmas carols on this occasion. While the celebrations are lively, the Rome of the East-Mangaluru surely took the lead when it comes to festivities.
The entire City got drenched in the colours of love, happiness, and positivity. The spirit of Christmas was felt in the streets of the city. Mangaluru got decked up with stunning lights, Christmas trees and ornaments. Every nook and corner of the city was seen in shimmering colours. From bustling markets to beautifully adorned church buildings, Mangaluru celebrated Christmas most extravagantly. In the City, Fatima Retreat House, Milagres Church, Rosario Cathedral, St. Aloysius Chapel, Infant Mary Jesus Shrine, Valencia Church, Atma Jyothi Ashram, St Anthony ashram, among others soaked in the true festive vibe.
Goa’s Band ‘A26’
Revellers had a good time at the House packed Christmas Day Ball with Goa’s Top Band A26 Live at Mangalore Club
Compared with the pandemic years, Christmas this year was celebrated with pomp and grandeur. Though some pandemic-related threats were still in the air, people celebrated grandly, joining the celebrations and ignoring their differences, Christmas remained an inclusive and uniting event that promotes the causes of social solidarity and communal amity.
The occasion was celebrated in an atmosphere charged with devotion. People were seen occupying public places, greeting friends and relatives, and exchanging gifts. Christmas celebrates the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed the earth with love and compassion and enriched it with peace and harmony. His message of forgiveness is a precious gift for humanity, underscoring that all people are one family and one future.
Even though the fear of a fresh wave of coronavirus globally amid a surge in cases in China felt like a not-so-welcome deja vu, where in 2019 when the Covid-19 cases were first reported in China’s Wuhan and from there spread across China and spilt over to the rest of the world, now three years later, once again, with China facing a surge in cases, prompting the rest of the world to evaluate the situation back home. The United States has warned that the Covid-19 outbreak in China, currently driven by highly transmissible Omicron strains mainly BA.5.2 and BF.7, may spawn new mutations of the virus.
NRI (USA) Joe D’souza celebrated a fun-filled Christmas with his siblings and a Furry family member
However, in the City people who wanted to celebrate Christmas never gave heed to all these cautions, instead celebrated Christmas with true spirit and fun after a break of two-plus years. Christmas spirit prevailed in the national capital as hundreds visited churches on Sunday after two years of muted celebrations in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Colourful lights, Christmas trees, buntings and balloons decked up street corners, markets and public areas as people from all religions and cultures celebrated the festival with food and music.
Sarik Ankith a lecturer at Roshni Nilaya had a joyous Christmas with her large Family members
Churches in the city celebrate Christmas with a lot of fervour, unlike the last two years when the faithful had to glue to television to watch the mass online. City churches had various programmes like crib-making/star-making competitions and visiting houses for carol singing. Along with celebrations, Christmas was also a time to give and do good, and people were eager to spread love through donations. For the Good Samaritans, the whole concept was ‘God gave his only son what can I give to those who are in need’. This year people tried to connect with people as they could not meet each other the last couple of years due to Covid-19, and Churches invited many people as they have not visited the church for Christmas celebrations in the last two years.
Natasha Pinto, who regularly visits the Infant Jesus Shrine in Bikarnakatte in the City speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “This year Christmas was a welcome return to in-person celebrations. My December is packed with weddings, school events, house parties etc. Then it was cleaning the house, putting up decorations and the tree, and making sweets or kidswear. Home smells wonderful with Pork sorpotel and bafat simmering. It’s been a memorable season with music, good food, and lots of fun. 2023 is surely getting on to a flying start!”
John Miranda and his wife Natasha and daughter Kiara dining at Dolphin Restaurant
Speaking to Team Mangalorean John Miranda said, ” We have come down to our hometown from Dubai after four years, and it feels great to be amidst our family and friends. Being with family members and friends and sharing the true spirit and meaning of Christmas is the greatest satisfaction one can get, and after a break of two years due to the pandemic we are happy to be back home and cherish all the good things this festive season has to offer. And one thing is for sure, trying the authentic Mangalorean cuisine which we miss in Dubai is something that we crave, and we have been to restaurants which serve authentic Kodilachi delicacies, including Dolphin restaurant. We will make the best use of our holidays here until we return”.
Many NRIs from the Gulf celebrated Christmas with their family and friends, some at their homes and some outside at a restaurant and entertainment venues. With the celebration mood on, homes, hotels, malls, and shops were all decked up with Christmas trees, with green and the colour red popping up everywhere. Festivities were throughout the city and joy could be felt in the air with these NRIs making the best use of their holidays and exchanging gifts. Joachim Pinto from UAE celebrated his Christmas with his sister and her husband as his children are in Canada. “I couldn’t travel for two years due to my busy schedule, but I am happy to celebrate Christmas and New Year this year in Mangaluru. Christmas is an extraordinary occasion of the year. It is all about families coming together and celebrating the festive season, and I am glad I made it to my birthplace this Christmas”.
William D’souza, the Proprietor of Globe Travels celebrated Christmas at his office with family, staff and friends
Hotels in the City which had the lowest business in the last two years were booming this December as there was a surge in domestic travel and destination weddings. Most hotels in the city centre, including star hotels, are running on 100% occupancy with some also diverting their guests to other hotels to keep up with demand. With the upcoming New Year’s Day events the streak is expected to continue. Peter Nirmal, the General Manager of Taj Gateway, soon to become Taj Vivanta said that this December has been great and room occupancy has been full. “Even our Christmas Eve buffet with live music and Christmas Day brunch with unlimited beverages was 100% successful with house-packed customers” added Peter.
The Christmas Day ball at Mangalore Club was a sold-out event where the gala went on till the wee hours, with revellers enjoying the fun that they had missed for the last two years, and India’s top band ‘A26’ kept the revellers on their toes on the dance floor making the best use of the night. Even churches after Christmas eve mass had lots of games and fun, like Rosario cathedral having housie games including slot games.
This year the Christmas celebration was the most fun as the coastal city returned to normalcy after two years of the pandemic. Traditional Christmas mass was celebrated at various churches since it is believed that Christ was born at night. Christian or not, people joined in the celebrations. For a crazy, fun-filled Christmas season celebration pubs/lounges were at their peak with party animals on the dance floor to show their best moves on high beats and savoured some mouth-watering cuisines. It’s any day a great idea to have a fun night at nightclubs if you have a taste for it and loud noises don’t bother you until the men in khaki storm the places to close them before the curfew hours as preventive measures from problems.
Christmas time was special not only for Christians but also for all the people who came together to celebrate the spirit of the holidays. The birth of Jesus marked the beginning of a new year for Christians. No doubt the ” Rome of the East” Mangaluru was completely decked up with lights during Christmas time and filled everyone up with light and joy. After all Christmas 2022 was a joyous and Merry Christmas! Ho..ho..ho