Janice Dumasia stepped hurriedly from store to store on Hill Road in Bandra on Monday looking for a Christmas tree and decorations for her house. “We decorate the home at Christmas every year,” said the young Parsi woman.
Christmas today is celebrated by a growing number of non-Christians too. For some it is a family affair, for many others it’s a time to come together with relatives and friends, or simply treat themselves.
Anu Tiwari is decorating a Christmas tree at her Worli home and she plans to pick up goodies to celebrate with the family. “We will have some cake. We have also planned a meal with our friends that day,” she said.
For Prema Rodrigues, celebrations will begin only after the church service. “Unless we go to church we will not begin the celebrations,” said the homemaker who resides in Colaba.
Even some non-Christians make it a point to visit a church. Like the Nakhuda family. “We are not so much into decorations. But we do go to a church on Christmas day,” said Neeta Nakhuda, a Sindhi. Her husband is a Muslim.
“Christmas is the story of Christ — God who came in a human form to save us from sin,” said Fr Savio Fernandes. “He brought peace and joy and directed us to act justly with one another, to reach out to others, love God and our neighbour. And that is what we are supposed to do.”
It’s a message that’s understood by people of all faiths. So, they too exchange sweets and gifts.
“It’s not as if only many non-Christians are warming up to our traditions,” said Willie Shirshat, a resident of Borivli. “Christians have also learned from the festival celebrations of their non-Christian brothers. Distributing sweets to others, like people do at Diwali, is one such thing that we do.”