Christmas celebrated in Kerala in traditional style

December 25th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Kottayam (Kerala), Dec 25 (IANS) After attending the midnight mass, Christians across Kerala got up early Thursday and headed for the dawn mass, heralding Christmas celebrations with traditional fervour and style.”We are really tired because after a long time my friends formed a group and went to around 50 homes in our neighbourhood in Thiruvalla and sang carols,” said Roy Jacob, a Dubai-based banker who came home to celebrate Christmas.

“We got Rs.7,500 and this would be given to a poor home for the inmates to celebrate Christmas.”

Districts in central Kerala - home to a large number of Christians who make up 22 percent of the state’s 32 million population - mark the event with fanfare.

Catholics are the dominant group, comprising 50 percent of the Christians in the state, followed by the Orthodox Church with a population of around 2.5 million. Jacobites, Mar Thoma, the Church of South India and the Pentecostal churches make up the rest.

Another reason for the late cheer is that the rubber prices which on account of the global meltdown were dropping, picked up and were hovering in the range of Rs.65 per kg. But, it was much lower than the price during last Christmas when it was Rs.90 per kg.

“The good thing this time is that people have learnt from past experience and there isn’t much extravagance this Christmas.

“Rubber farmers became too lavish when prices touched Rs.140 (per kg) not long ago and this time after learning from bad times, I am really happy that extravagance is not there,” said a Christian priest who did not wish to be identified.

Many Christians rushed back from churches for a special breakfast.

“I have been working for the past few days for this breakfast because my children are home on vacation after a long gap,” said Molly Kurian while going back home at Puthupally in Kottayam. “For breakfast I have made appam and stew, baked bananas, duck curry and, of course, the boiled egg. I am really happy all my grandchildren are also here.”

The Kerala State Beverages Corporation (KSBC), the lone wholesalers of beer and Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), has stocked up so that its shops do not run out of supplies.

“On account of the global slowdown, sales of liquor fell in the months of October and November. But we are quite certain that by the end of this month, consequent to the bumper sales during this week, the total sale of December will cover up for the drop in sale during the past two months,” a KSBC spokesperson told IANS.

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