A festival involving a lot of joy-spreading, gift-exchanging, and merry-making, Christmas is celebrated around the world and awaited with much excitement all through the year. But when it comes to Mumbai, is the festival losing its charm? Bayside Journal speaks to Christians around the city to find out how Christmas has changed over the years.
In terms of the traditions and customs, and in the way Mumbai celebrates it, Christmas has changed a lot. “Christmas nowadays has become commercialised. Christmas for everyone has become a season of holiday,” says Sheryl Mathew, a 44-year-old Catholic housewife. Like every year, the entire city was lit this year too. But is this all there is to Christmas?
Christmas is incomplete without cribs. It’s a thing every Christian loves to make and decorate. Not anymore, maybe? Alan Mathew, a 70-year-old retired professor says, “The festival has lost its charm. Christmas crib is something we loved to do as kids. Nowadays, kids are not interested in it. The way of celebrating the festival has changed.”
In today’s busy world where technology is playing a more and more important part of our lives, the real meaning of festivals is lost. No one has so much time to spend for these things. The attachment towards religious festivals and values is lost. Technology has made everything so easy – including greeting each other and giving gifts. It is now possible to send each other e-greetings and e-gifts. “Whole families don’t come together on Christmas anymore. My grandfather always told me stories of how he would celebrate Christmas with his entire family. But it is not possible now because we all stay in different parts of the world and can’t meet up because of other commitments,” says 23-year-old student, Lionel Lobo.
Christmas is a festival meant to be celebrated together. It is a festival of singing carols, making sweets at home, inviting people over, and making cribs outside homes. But sweets are readily available in local stores now, and singing carols happens only in churches, if at all. The spirit of Christmas is lost. The only thing related to Christmas that still seems to be alive is the midnight mass, which everyone attends. “The only thing I do with my family on Christmas is attend the midnight mass, following which I party with my friends. The following day is also mostly with friends, thought there may be a family lunch programme. There is nothing special about Christmas,” says Calvin Chacko, who is a 27-year-old architect.
Festivals keep us attached to our traditions and customs. They are symbols of our values and ethics and we should be preserving them before we lose them completely, and there is nothing to give to the coming generations.