Mangaluru-the ‘Rome of the East’ all Decked up for the ‘Feast of Love & Care’-CHRISTMAS!

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Mangaluru-the ‘Rome of the East’ all Decked up for the ‘Feast of Love & Care’-CHRISTMAS!

Mangaluru-‘Rome of the East’ all Decked up for Feast of Love & Care -CHRISTMAS!

Mangaluru: Yes, Christmas is almost here, and in less than 24 hours the World’s Biggest and Merriest Feast “CHRISTMAS” is celebrated by people all over the world, including Mangaluru known as the “Rome of the East”! And I am really excited about it! This ought to mean that by the time it really comes, we should all be so fed up, all we want to do is sleep! And yet, I believe there is something inside each and every one of us, no matter how old we are, whether we have young children in our families or not, that goes ‘Ahhhhh’ when we think of Christmas. Even if you don’t help out at your Church in the Christmas preparations, there are still plenty of things to do.

When we get closer to the end of December, there’s no question your Christmas spirit may already be worn a little thin. Besides the organizing and shopping and running around in time for December 25, it’s also the end of a heck of a long year and you’re undoubtedly in need of a respite. Yes, its already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Mangaluru, and the City is getting all geared for the big Christmas celebrations, with shops stocked up with Christmas decorations, twinkling Christmas stars, artificial Christmas trees; and bakeries are getting ready with their kuswars and cakes.

Santa hats are being sold at signals and plum cakes sit pretty in bakery aisles —Christmas is here! Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is not restricted to a particular religion; in cosmopolitan Mangaluru, we all ring in the festivities with equal gusto. The city is lit up in cheery reds, greens, blues and yellows. Team Mangalorean looks at ways in which Mangalureans celebrate Christmas…One look at Mangalure’s most popular shopping spot (Hampankatta- Market Road) and you know that the festivities are here- this stretch of road/junction is at its glorious best this time of the year, much to the shoppers’ delight. Walking down Hampankatta/Market Rd under the lights is a ritual for many city folk. Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, and what better place to stock up on Christmas goodies than in the city’s most iconic bakeries? Many new bakery outlets have made their way into the city, but nothing can beat age-old bakery like Vas and Son (Bakery)-Bendore managed by Bryan Vas.

Bakers at Vas Bakery Bendoor are working round the clock preparing and giving final touches to the variety of Christmas cakes, numbered in hundreds. Jewellery shops and up-class hotels have already erected their Christmas trees and decorated their premises. Staff at Jerosa company are working hard to help customers buy the required decorations, Christmas trees etc etc; Chefs at ‘Hotel Taj Gateway’ are getting ready to serve the customers the Christmas Turkey specials, Christmas Brunch and the Mega Buffet, Churches are getting ready for the Christmas programme/mass and the choir groups are practicing thorough on the Christmas carols. Mangaloreans living in Gulf have already started coming down for the holidays. St Anthony Ashram’- Jeppu put up Christmas Mobile shows at many venues, and the Ashram is all decorated with lighted stars and a beautiful crib near the Ashram gate- and there are still many Christmas music and drama shows lined up during the next few days.

Brightly lit Christmas trees, wreaths, holly, baubles, tinsel, fairy lights and maybe even a mistletoe? If you are looking for these decorations, then head down to Jerosa Company-or Milagres Company, both opposite Milagres Church-Mangaluru, if you still haven’t put up your Christmas tree or decorated your homes- better late than never, you can still do it! Also during Christmas, you can spread cheer through charity- Spread joy by making others smile. You can sing carols or share a Christmas meal with the elderly at an old-age home or with children at one of the many orphanages in the city. Regarding Carol singing, few group of merry people have already visited homes and sang their favourite carols — the tradition of singing carols is alive and kicking in the Education city. There are several popular choirs, including Milagres Choir Group, and members of Mangalore Ladies Circle 82 who have already took on the task of spreading cheer this year.

Christmas celebrations in the city have reached a feverish pitch with the bunch of churches in the city bracing up their congregations for the Christmas worship services which would start on the midnight of December 24 and conclude with the major worship services on December 25, the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ. All over the city one can see illuminated stars which are adding beauty to it. As the evening dawns and darkness deepens in the cold winter nights, the multiple stars dotting the rooftop of houses in the city resemble the milky way with colourful stars making their presence felt and bringing new hope in their lives.

One Christmas tradition that few miss is the midnight mass. For years, Mangalureans have been heralding Christmas Eve Mass at St Aloysius Chapel, Fatima Retreat House, Milagres Church, Rosario Cathedral, Infant Jesus Church among many others. After being little Holy, then its time to celebrate. Yes, Jingle Bell Rock- and Mangalore Club is synonymous with Christmas. If you want to jive with the swankiest crowd in town, then this is the place to be. The party goes on till late or wee hours and the dinner spread is one to look out for- this Christmas night, with a live band along with a Dj will rock the Christmas Ball at Mangalore Club.

The stars, illuminated with lights, on the horizon were traditionally used to remind the followers of Christ that they are called to be the light of the world. Churches are full of decorations, Christmas trees, illumination, love feasts, poor feeding and distribution of gifts and clothing etc. Church services on Christmas day will be the most colourful with men and women and young boys and girls in their new attires adding glitter and glamour to the universal celebration. Christmas celebrations however will continue until December 31 extending the Christmas season. Meanwhile, politicians are busy reaching out to Christian community. MLC Ivan D’souza organised a massive Christmas celebration event at Kankanady Market.

Let’s get in the mood for Christmas. Lets get in the groove of Christmas – I cant wait its almost Christmas (A time so dear) So much fun to wake up on Christmas, and spread the love and cheer. Let’s all gather round, Christmas is getting near, and its that time when love is in the air. We all had to wait through the year for this time to be here, because its that time when everyone cares. Positive energy as we laugh cheerfully having fun with family and friends (come on let’s get in to it) Hang lights on the Christmas tree, hang a Santa Claus, decorate your place, and let the Christmas spirit begin.

Christmas can also be a time when we engage with the God that invented it…It can be a time when we get all tingly inside, and traditional, and want nothing more than carols and candles, decorated Christmas trees and kuswar/cakes, and Mary and Joseph and Jesus and a manger. Yes, now the time is getting near…its almost one more, until Christmas… more sleep, one more morning of waking up to God’s creation and writing all we want to do for Christmas on our calendars. I wonder when you are reading this how far the 25th Dec is? Not long, to get prepared, get ready, get excited, and get remembering WHO it is all really about. Merry Christmas to everyone of you well in advance. Ho..ho..ho..ho.. I’ll end my column here-for It’s time for me to go for some last minute bargain shopping…..

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