The colours and festivities came alive on Christmas day in the city as Hyderabadis celebrated the festival with aplomb. The morning prayers were followed by Christmas carols and a traditional feast. “Christmas brings back childhood memories to me. It is the one festival we celebrate together on a large-scale as a family. This year too, I am delighted to be back home and spend time with them,” says Rathan Royal, an independent filmmaker in the city. For many, the festivities had started days before Christmas and it was not just about Noel. “We started celebrations from December 14 itself. The men lit a campfire and the women made rangoli. After that, we sang carols and songs about the Lord. Then we went around the city giving gifts to children. I’m just spending time with my family and eating the traditional cake and some of the other delicacies,” he adds.
The emphasis of Christmas for most people in the city though has been about family as it is a chance for the whole family to get together and celebrate. “Christmas is all about family for me. All my family members got together from different parts of the world. We attended the church in the morning, which was followed by a traditional lunch, where we gorged on chicken, salads, roast cookies and the Christmas cake. But more than anything else, it was an extravagant family affair,” shares Dominic Savio, account manager at Avian Media.
The festival, which is also known as the joy of giving, saw plenty of people indulge in charity work not just in the city but also in villages around Hyderabad. Sannaki Munna who hails from Jyothi Ashram, an orphanage near Kurnool went in the area around his orphanage visiting people spreading Christmas cheer and providing food to the poor. “This is something we look forward to all year. The whole night, we went door-to-door and gave goodies to everybody. Every family in the village provided us with food and every house lighted a star on the occasion,” he said.
Yuletide has many traditions and every family celebrates it in a different way. Regardless, it is celebrated in a grand fashion with prayers, love, gifts and music. “We follow a custom where on Christmas day, all families make special treats and sell them in stalls at the church. The money raised from this goes to the church which uses it to provide clothes and food for the poor,” explained Munna, who is pursuing Masters in Pharmacy at the Hyderabad Central University.
One of the most wonderful things about this festival is that it provides lots of music in the form of carols. Christmas is often associated with some legendary carols like ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’ and ‘Deck the halls’, to name a few. “Carols are a huge part of the festival besides different songs about Jesus Christ. On Christmas eve, we had a midnight service where there was a squire which exclusively sang the Christmas carols,” concludes Dominic.
Rest assured, the festival was one to remember and the people were grateful for the joy and love Jesus had bestowed upon them this year.