THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ‘Christmas chibai!’ Wendy Lalrinchhani promptly replies when you ask her how do you say ‘Merry Christmas’ in the Mizo ‘tawng’. “It’s more like ‘Christmas hello!’ when you translate it into English,” she explains.Far from the cloud-kissed blue hills of their home state, a small group of Mizo people is rejoicing in the Yuletide spirit in Kerala. Christmas and New Year are big occasions in Christian-dominated Mizoram.
So, the Mizos in God’s Own Country by the Sea, who are here for higher studies and work, see them as an opportunity to get together, let their hair down and, inevitably, dream of home.“We are a small community in Kerala,” Victor L B, a Junior Warrant Officer at the Indian Air Force’s Southern Air Command, told Express.“There are only 150 to 200 of us here, give or take another 20-30. Most of us are here for higher studies, while others find work in hotels and the tourism industry,” he says.
Though minuscule, the community even has an organisation representing it — the Kerala Mizo Association.On Monday, the Mizos in Thiruvananthapuram — numbering roughly 60, according to Wendy, who is the treasurer for the Trivandrum Mizo Christian Fellowship — will come together for the Christmas service at Victor’s home.“Back home, carols are sung and the major junctions and popular areas are decorated with lights, Santas and Christmas trees,” says Wendy, who is into her third year in medicine at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
The Mizos, who are close-knit as a community, attend the Presbyterian Church, a mainline Protestant denomination. Lunch and dinner on Christmas day will consist of rice, pork, beef and chicken, she says.
“On 25th night, there will also be a fellowship,” she says.
Music in their veins
Music is an inseparable part of life in Mizoram. You only have to check out YouTube to see that. Some time ago, Victor, who is also a football coach, and his friends had cobbled together a team to play in a club tournament in Thiruvananthapuram. The stylish Mizos arrived at the ground armed with guitars to cheer for their side! But let’s not digress or forget to keep up the Xmas spirit. So, ‘Christmas chibai!’