Spice up Your Christmas The Kolkata Way

Kolkata, the city of joy celebrates Christmas merrily cutting across religious lines to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s not only Christians, but Bengalis, Chinese, Muslims and other religious castes who spend the final days of the year like one big family. All city churches and cathedrals are decorated with colorful festoons, paper stars, Christmas trees, twinkling lights and candles. Daylong prayers are performed in these churches starting from midnight on Christmas Eve. Cakes, cookies, wine and midnight masses at churches amid tight security from officials mark Christmas celebrations across West Bengal.

The city’s famous heritage location, Bow Barracks inhibited by mainly Anglo-Indians and Christians buzzes with huge number of activities that are people of all ages take part in and starts well ahead of Christmas. There are sports tournaments mainly cricket, football and hockey during the day followed by carnivals and music festivals in the evening that continue through late hours into the night. If it’s Christmas it has to be Bow Barracks. The various types of wines, the revelry, the enthusiasm and homemade cakes make Christmas celebrations matchless at Bow Barracks.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most significant spiritual arenas of Kolkata. It is a very serene and peaceful place and is very well preserved. The church has no chauvinism concerning caste or religion and is destined for people belonging to all spiritual faith. The Cathedral takes a celebratory look at the time of Christmas. Inhabitants in Kolkata congregate in this cathedral to celebrate the fiesta with great happiness and joy. The Christmas celebration here features Christmas carols throughout the day and serving people wine to celebrate the special day of the year.

Mother Teresa Sarani, formerly Park Street also known as “Food Street” and “The Street that Never Sleeps” is famous for its bustling night-spots and mansion-lined street that oozes a British era charm is also lit up and decorated magnificently. From colorful snow streamers, sparkling battery-operated stars, snow bells, dancing Santa, musical Christmas trees, foldable trees, wreaths and foldable decorative items and baubles, decor shops line up a host of ornaments add the extra glitz to Christmas.

Kolkata Christmas festival which is a State government initiative adds a beautiful charm to the Christmas celebrities in the city of joy. It features dances, musical performances by various renowned singers and musicians, Christmas carols, cooking competitions and most interestingly a vintage car rally which has become a huge hit over the years.

Apart from all these, various bakeries and confectionaries of the city have come up with new kinds of cakes and cookies. Most of the city hotels and restaurants include scrumptious turkey dishes and delicious cakes for the special occasion. Exchange of greetings and gifts, visits to relatives, games and sports among children and community feasts mark Christmas celebrations throughout the state. Large queues, comprising mostly kids are seen at the city zoo, Victoria Memorial Hall, the Indian Museum and other sight-seeing spots of the city. Some people organize daylong picnics too. Young couples throng various parks across the city to spend some time together.

Deepavali – The Festival of Lights

The festive season is not yet over. Followed by Durga Puja, another great festival “Diwali” – the festival of lights, is celebrated with great enthusiasm and in high spirit in Kolkata. Across the city, substantial number of puja pandals can be seen which implies that in the eye of Kolkatans, no festival is less important. The festival occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Generally, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Lakshmi and Kuber. On this day new articles like gold and silver made jewelries and coins are bought. Beside this, some people prefers to buy utensils. The reason behind buying those articles is spiritual belief that if such articles are bought on this auspicious day, god and goddess will come along with it.

On the day of Kali Puja, houses and shops are decorated, lamps are lit and gifts are exchanged. Delicious food items and sweets are prepared. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. Children burst crackers and get intoxicated by the different colorful lights the crackers emit. In some places functions are organized and celebrities are invited. Streams of song and music make the atmosphere pleasant.

There is a mythology associated with the festival. Rama after killing Ravana on Vijayadashmi, returned home along with wife Sita and younger brother Lakshmana after 14 years of exile. The people of Ayodhya were so excited that they illuminated the whole of kingdom with Deep (Lamps), so this festival is also called Deepavali. It is also the day when Shri Krishna killed Narakaasura—the demon of sorrow and hell.

Subho Deepavali BannerAbout Kolkata Team wishes all our visitors a happy, prosperous and healthy Diwali. May goddess fill the heart with the oil of love. Light it with the knowledge of truth and remove the darkness of ignorance around you.

Enjoy the festival whole heatedly and safely.

18th Kolkata International Film Festival

Kolkatans await for the next Kolkata International Film Festival since the end of the previous one and the intense hungriness to see the films enlisted in the festival could be seen during the 18th Kolkata International Film festival held at Netaji Indoor stadium. This year, the city has witnessed first time millennium star Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood Badshah Shahrukh Khan, Tollywood Mahaguru Mithun Chakraborty and glamorous queen Katrina kaif and Anushka Sharma sharing the same podium in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Some of the Tollywood stars and actors like Madhabi Mukherjee, Sandhya Roy, Haradhan Bandyopadhya, Dipankar De, Ranjit Mallick were too present in the function. Tollywood heartthrobs Dev, Koel Mallick, Parambrata and Soham also shared the dais.

Mamata Banerjee conducted the grand show in her own unique style and trademark speech. “Bengal has the potential to turn into a home for international cinema. We can act as a bridge between Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood. Our government plans to set up three film cities in the state, it’s important to invest in the entertainment business for its now in focus”, she declared. Continue reading “18th Kolkata International Film Festival”

Durga Puja – The Greatest Festival of Kolkata

Kolkata, the city of joy, is considered to be a land of festivals. No matter how big or small a festival is, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Among many festivals, Durga Puja is the greatest one. The greatness is, because of large scale celebration throughout the city. Huge number of puja pandals comes up to greet Maa Durga.

The Festival falls in the month of October in general. However, the excitement and preparation begins two or three month before its commencement. The city streets and markets are flooded with crowd with major concentration on big malls. Big Bazar, Metro shopping mall, South City Shopping mall, City Center, Axis mall, Vardan Market, Sreeram Arcade, S S Hog Market are among worth mentioning. During the four days celebration, the city dazzles with decorative pandals and illuminative lightings. People from all walk of life, enjoy the festivals irrespective of their caste, creed and community.

The center of attraction is the food stall. Substantial number of food stalls is set nearby puja pandals. In some places, based on puja, fairs are organized to enhance the enjoyment. Now a days, it has been seen that theme based pandals are more in demand. Each and every puja committee tries to prove their credibility and creativity and come up with different and more unique pandals. A healthy competition grows among these pandals. In Kolkata, such competition can be seen among the pandals of southern and northern part. The best one, from all perspective, is awarded with prize. The winner pandals pull huge crowd. Beside Sarbojonin puja, Barwari puja has its own importance. They are well known for their rites and rituals which they have been following for a long time. In the evening, the family members organize cultural programmes.

Maa Durga stays for four days from saptami to dushami, however, the enthusiasm remain continues even after the puja is over. Such has the impact of this festival on the people of Kolkata city.

  • by Sujit Sharma