BENGALURU: As bells tolled in celebration of Christmas, kids flocked to churches and around town in search of what they most look forward to — meeting Santa.
People from all walks of life, many of them college students, were happy to bring smiles on the little ones’ faces dressed in red and white amid prayers, caroling and frolicking.
For the first-timers, it was a novel experience. Many others turn Santa regularly this time of year.
Basavaraj, child rights NGO Bosco’s coordinator who was at its head office, has played Santa for 18 years. “Every religion is equal, and I celebrate Christmas too,” said Basavaraj, who was born a Hindu.
He said he had not heard of Santa Claus, the bringer of gifts, till he first donned the costume to spread joy among children.
“Children believe Jesus sends Santa Claus to give them gifts,” he said. “This year, I gave away gifts like tee-shirts to children from poor families. When the kids come up and hug me, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Revino Ajith, a 20-year-old student at Rajarajeshwari Engineering College, was the Santa this year at St Joseph’s Church in Chamarajpet. Revino wore the attire for the first time.
“I love when kids pose with me for photos,” he said. “I feel I really am Santa.”
He distributed toys, caps and chocolates to the children.
Santa Cast in Iron
St Joseph’s Youth Association created a 90-foot Santa at Saint Joseph’s Church in Chamarajpet. This is said to be worthy of a mention in the Guinness World Records. In 2002, the association put up a 32-foot sculpture. This year, the size was tripled. Joseph Bernard of this church said 13 tonnes of iron, 300 kg of cotton, 5,000 metres of cloth, 25 metres of leather were `21 lakh. “It will be on display till February 1,” he said.