Bengaluru breaks religious barriers to celebrate Christmas

Bengaluru: Vijayalakshmi V, 46, administrative head of the in-patient department at Hosmat Hospital, eagerly waits for Christmas Eve every year. It gives her the chance to reunite with five of her siblings and spend a sisters’ night out to celebrate the big day.

It is the beautifully illuminated St Basilica Church in Shivajinagar, colourfully decked up streets and midnight mass that break all barriers of religion and bring these sisters together on December 24 every year. “Starting from Bible reading to placing of Infant Jesus in the crib, the mass between 9pm and 12.30am on Christmas Eve is much more than a religious celebration. The mass gives us inner peace and fill our hearts with a positive light.”

“In fact, my sisters make it a point to come to Bengaluru at this time to enjoy the beauty of Christmas here and be a part of the Holy Mass. We thoroughly enjoy the carols, yummy cakes, rose cookies and wine,” Vijayalakshmi added.

For Anandhi Sridhar, 39, a homemaker, going to church on Christmas Eve and attending midnight mass is a childhood habit. “This is because I spent all my school life in convent schools and Christmas celebration has been an integral part of my life. It is as important and delightful as Diwali or any other festival,” said Anandhi, a mother of two.

She is usually accompanied by her friend, Deepa Sharma, 26, a keen enthusiast of Christian culture, and her two children – 12-year-old Manas and seven-year-old Nandika – every year.

“I love singing carols at the mass, lighting up candles and offering sarees to Mother Mary and frocks to Infant Jesus, which would later go to needy women and children. At the end of the mass, we exchange greetings, sweets and flowers,” said Anandhi.

Anandhi decorates her house with a Christmas tree, Nativity crib, bells, stars and fairy lights. “For me, all gods are one and all religions are same. There is no point in bringing religion into such celebrations as it gives me immense joy and I am able to spread happiness among others as well,” she added.

For media professional Dharshita Srivastava, 25, going to St Mark’s Cathedral during Christmas takes her back to her school days. “As a kid, I was introduced to carols and celebrations at school. I always enjoyed the spirit of the season, so I and my friends get together to attend midnight mass,” said Dharshita.

Holy books speak about respecting other religions

All the holy books teach us to respect other religions and having grown up with Christian friends, I feel Christmas is all about being together as a family and remembering the good times we’ve had. For me, Christmas is about yummy plum cake, being a secret Santa to my friends, receiving surprise gifts, and as a music lover, I never miss carols. There are no religious boundaries as such and a cosmopolitan celebration of Christmas proves that.

(Times of India)

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