BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Christian families in the city are a bit disappointed that the night curfew imposed by the government from Thursday has deprived them of celebrating Christís birth at midnight mass in churches. Like last year, this year, too, the midnight mass will be held well before midnight in the churches in the city.
'I will miss the fog, the mist, the shivering and the bonfires at midnight at the church. Carols, Santa Claus and cake-cutting, besides prayers, make the Midnight Mass very special,' says Laila Simon, an associate professor in management department at the Bhopal School of Social Science (BSSS).
'We were hopeful that this year, we would be able to celebrate the big day without any restrictions. But alas, Omicron has spoiled our plans,' she rues. And yet, Laila says, as a responsible citizen, she doesnít resent the restrictions. 'We have preponed the celebrations at the church,' she says. 'If Santa Claus does come, I will seek only one blessing from him - rid the world of this scourge,' she says.
As for home, cakes are ready and decorations have been done, complete with the crib. However, Laila hasn't invited guests to her place and nor would she be visiting friends and relatives.
Sister Anju Johl Masih, a nurse in the trauma unit of Hamidia Hospital, would be visiting the church with her family at 8.30 pm. 'We will light a bonfire and sit around it in the church compound,' she says. Her elderly mother-in-law will join the prayer service online. According to her, earlier, groups of carol singers went from door to door. But that will not happen this year. On Christmas morning, they will be visiting the church again. 'I will wish my friends on the phone,' she says.
Gajar ka halwa is ready at the home of sculptor Robin David and rum and plum cakes have been prepared. The David coupleís two daughters - one of whom lives in the USA and the other in Pune - will not be visiting their parentsí home due to Covid-related curbs. He says that his artist friends and neighbours visit their place on Christmas. They will be served a sumptuous feast of mutter paneer, chhole, aloo-gobhi ki sabzi and kebabs. What is he missing this Christmas? 'His children and Azadi', replies the artist.
Public Relations Officer of Campion School, Winston Vijay Minj, says that they were pretty confident that this year they would be able to celebrate Christmas in the traditional way. But that did not happen. 'We organised carol singing at one home instead of going door-to-door,' he says. Dressed as Santa Claus, Minj distributed gifts to street children on December 21. On Christmas day, he would be visiting the Missionaries of Charity centre in the city with a cake, which he will cut amid the children residing there. 'What I will miss is enjoying hot coffee sitting around a bonfire in the church compound,' he says.
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