Christmas Eve Celebrations 2019 at CEL, Kundapur

Christmas Eve Celebrations 2019 at CEL, Kundapur

Christmas at 30° C: HBP Volunteers celebrate Christmas far away from home. For most volunteers, Christmas is a family holiday, so this year will, for sure, be different. Sharing stories about our different Christmas celebrations, it is apparent that the traditions vary much, not only from nation to nation but also from family to family. What will Christmas be like in our part of India and in the new context of the “CEL Family”? (CEL is short for Centre of Experimental Living and is the FSL-India’s training centre at Kundapur).

India has a large diversity of religions – Christians making 2.3% of the population, Christmas is one of the festivities that is celebrated widespread, but not by everyone. Just as most Christians don’t celebrate Ramadan or Deepavali.

Start of December, we see Christmas decorations popping up every here and there in shops, and in streets. Colourful lights and large paper stars bring light and spirit into the dark evenings. People put decorated Christmas trees in front of their houses and TV commercials, start playing Christmas-themed music as jingles.

Some of us visited a street procession of Advent. People dressed in white, carrying lights along the streets of Kundapur, heading towards church, accompanied by drums and trumpets.

On the day of Christmas Eve, 24th of December, all the CEL volunteers and staff gathered to try and bring some Christmas magic to the facility.

Early in the morning, as the delicious scent of cinnamon and cardamom filled the air, we popped on Christmas hats, grabbed some scissors and began crafting paper snowflakes together, while singing festive songs.

We decorated one of the trees in the office area with our snowflakes, some Christmas tree ornaments and garlands. Celebrating Swedish traditions, we then formed a circle holding our hands and danced around the tree.

Continuing with another Swedish tradition, we ate lovely Christmas rice “Porridge” with homemade oat milk and vegan butter. Before eating it, everyone has to say something that rhymes. And to add a little suspense, three almonds are hidden in the “Porridge”; it´s said that whoever finds an almond will get married next year!

Other Christmas dishes were prepared by the volunteers, to show some specialties from their home countries. We had salame al chocolate – an Italian dessert made with biscuits and dark chocolate – and French crêpes accompanied by chocolate cream, honey and peanut butter; for lunch, wonderful veg pasta thanks to another Italian volunteer. And to end the day on an even sweeter note, our German friends prepared an amazing Christmas hot punch, apple and cinnamon flavoured, and chocolate roses made with cereals.

The very same day, a midnight mass was celebrated in the church of Kundapur for those who wanted to join.

This special Christmas will remain in our memory and our hearts for many years to come. Maybe some of us even picked up a few new traditions to keep up in the future!

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