Abu Dhabi, Dec. 13: We are fast approaching the Christmas Season and whenever any person talks about “Cribs” the first thought that comes to his or her mind are the cribs of Jeppu (Valencia), Bejai, Bendore, Rosario and Urwa Parishes in Mangalore to name a few. These places are well known for the huge size of the cribs, the special statues they use, the greenery, illumination, background and of course the creative design. But nobody would believe or even dream that there’s someone in Abudhabi, who has been erecting similar cribs from 1979 onwards year after year.
We are speaking of Frank Alvares’ Crib in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi- The capital of UAE. Measuring 12 feet by 10 feet put up in the main hall, inside his three bedroom apartment, close to Invest Bank (Behind Citi Bank Salaam Street). The enclosed pictures will definitely show his passion for making cribs, hardwork and the team effort of his family members.
I met Frank Alvares at his residence and found out some finer details and his desire of making cribs in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Frank Alvares hails from Bejai, Mangalore, and has now set up his home in Hollywood Town, Devanahalli-Bangalore. An Accountant by profession, working in Abu Dhabi, is a very creative and down to earth person at heart. He loves Gardening (has a huge collection of indoor plants), enjoys listening to music English & Konkani ? and has this interest of erecting cribs every year.
The first spark of building cribs started when he was a teenager, way back in 1964, when he raised cribs in Bejai. In 1969, Frank with the help of his best friend Santosh (now settled in Germany), erected a massive crib, which was awarded the first prize at the parish level crib competition and won great appreciation from his parishioners, friends and wellwishers in Mangalore.
This motivated him to continue his interest of building cribs when he stepped into Abu Dhabi in the year 1979 onwards. With a beautiful smile on his face he acknowledges the strong support he has received from his wife Mariette, (without her it would be impossible he says) children and his family members, Avil, Henry, Melwyn, and Alwyn. It takes them a week?s time to put up this crib.
Every year he plans to do something different by changing the design. This year the theme is ?Star of David?, which is seen in the background in the photograph. He has collected statues from various parts in India – Mangalore, Kottayam and Kollam in Kerala, and Mumbai. Earlier an outlet in Abu Dhabi (Al Ahlia Prisunic) used to sell statues too and he has them in his collection.
The moment you step into Franks house, it gives you a Christmas feeling. You feel that Christmas mood is really in the air. ?This is our main objective ? to spread the Christmas spirit among all ? says Frank and his wife Mariette. Her beaming smile conveys the message of her approval for whatever Frank utters. In addition to this, the couples devotion for Mother Mary needs to be highlighted here. They had visited Lourdes in France and have made a miniature of the Lourdes Grotto inside their house, very close to the main hall. They have used rocks from the Corniche area to make this dream come true. A few pieces have been used for the crib as well to give it a natural look. Every year around 30-40 families in UAE visit Franks house including the priests, and nuns from various places.
Mangalorean.com wishes all the best to Frank Alvares and his family.
Author: Claude Fernandes- UAE