Christmas for all in Pune

With times, the festival celebrations have moved beyond being limited to Christians, as people from all faiths and]religions are celebrating it with equal enthusiasm and fervour. Priyanka Naithani explores

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Gone are the days when Christmas was celebrated only by the Christians. With the cosmopolitan crowd in the city, this joyful festival has found a place in the hearts and homes of many non-Christians. It has become a festival for all, irrespective of any religion or ethnicity, as people these days look for an occasion to be merry.

The celebration is actually not entirely new. For generations of convent-educated children and those who studied in Jesuit-run English medium schools, celebrating Christmas was as normal as singing carols.

One of them is Garima Gambhir, who now works with a pharmaceutical company. Though a Punjabi at heart, she loves celebrating Christmas. She says, “As I come from a convent school, Christmas is something which I have grown up with. Though I don’t really follow all the customs and traditions, I always look forward to decorate my Christmas tree.”

“Every year, I look for unusual decorative pieces in the market and make sure that I decorate it differently each time,” says Garima, who also plans to bake a cake this Christmas Eve. 
The basic idea for her is to have fun with friends. “Last year, I attended the midnight mass at a church and this time too I am planning to visit St Patrick’s Cathedral with a bunch of school friends. Apart from the fun and celebration, Santa Claus used to always excite me as a child,” shares Garima.

By rejoicing Christmas, many are simply trying to seize a happy moment, not endorsing a religious faith. Among them is Devashish Bhatt, an IT professional, who loves the spirit of Christmas.

“I am not religious and celebrate as many festivals as I can. Christmas is all the more special because of the vibe it creates. This festival is least religious in its outlook. Decorating a Christmas tree, or eating a plum cake, doesn’t make you any less Hindu, or Sikh. It only gives you another reason to celebrate and make merry, something that we have forgotten to do these days,” says Bhatt, who has placed a beautiful Christmas tree at his place and plans to invite his friends for a scrumptious dinner which will be served with red wine.   

Christmas is one of the merriest festivals, feels software professional Richa Sharma, who lived in Germany for some years. After returning back, she still celebrates the festival with the same enthusiasm.

“This festival brings a lot of vibrancy and fervour to my house and my two little children, Aayush and Anoushka, are the ones who anxiously wait for Christmas. This festival excites them more than Diwali. Usually, what I do is hang red socks in their room and tell them to put their wishlist into them two days before Christmas. We then check their wish list and get the gifts accordingly,” says Richa.

  “I love the chubby Santa Claus with the long white beard and bag of gifts. He comes to my home every Christmas and leaves presents for me. This time, I want a pink horse,” quips four-year-old Anoushka, who is eagerly waiting for Santa.
Christmas is a time to meet, greet and bond. The shops and malls in the city are also flooded with attractive gifts which give you an occasion to please your friends with goodies.

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