Christmas in Mumbai to be a silent and solemn affair this year
BL Soni

Bandra localities, known for vibrant Christmas celebrations, are set to go low key this year. The areas -Chapel Road, St Peter's Road and Waroda Road, amongst others- have a significant Catholic population. Every year, each household arranges carnivals and feasts for the people.

One such attraction for Mumbaikars is the 'Community Bazar' set up by residents at Bandra's Church Street a week before Christmas. People coming from different communities and ethnicities set up their own stalls for a day. The Bazar remains operational for only three-four hours in the evening and records a significant footfall of 500 plus people in these few hours.

"This year, we have decided to not set up the Bazaar due to the pandemic. This is a collective decision considering the safety of people living in the area," Mario Fishery, a local resident and member of Advanced Locality Management (ALM) group told the Free Press Journal.

Presently, Bandra which falls under the municipal ward H (West) has 496 active cases and more than 150 residential buildings in this ward are sealed. Local civic officials have stated that 90 per cent of the cases being reported daily are from housing societies.

"We host a mini carnival every year between December 23 and December 25. This year two of our nearby buildings are sealed, which is why we have decided to curtail the celebrations this year," said Robert Pinto, a resident of Hill Road.

A number of Catholic households, which arrange Christmas celebrations every year at their courtyard, have also decided to limit the number of guests coming over.

"Each year, we set up our choir and enjoy music at our courtyard, which draws a lot of visitors to our household every year. This year, we will visit the church and pray at home with family members," another Bandra resident Astin Peters told FPJ.

Earlier, this week, Prabhu Yeshu Janmotsav, an apex body of Christmas celebration in Mumbai, had also declared that it will be holding no public celebrations this year, as a precautionary measure.

The Archbishop of Mumbai, Oswald Cardinal Gracias had also stated that Churches won't hold open air masses and the number of participants entering the Church premises will be monitored.

"Various events are organised across the Bandra area every year during Christmas. This year most of the Churches, Gymkhana and independent public bodies have already planned to observe low key celebrations keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic" Bandra West corporator Asif Zakaria told FPJ.

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Free Press Journal