Thursday, November 23, 2017
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Image result for Churches in Kolkata deck up to usher in Christmas

There is nothing lovelier, divine and more Christmassy than sitting in a candlelit church waiting for the whole seasonal panoply of the cathedral to swing you back into history.


Churches across the city are illuminated by flickering lights and echo to familiar carols have already started to reverberate inside the majestic cathedrals to usher in the yuletide. The chapels in the city are already decked up with fairy lights and models of Santa Claus and Christmas trees.
They say Christmas in Kolkata, which was once the capital of the East India Company, is celebrated on its streets. But visiting the churches, some of which date back to more than two and a half centuries, is top on the list.
St John's, the third oldest and first Anglican Church in the city, puts up tableaus of the birth of Jesus Christ that are so elaborate and beautiful that visiting it has become a popular Christmas pursuit. The church is located on Council House Street adjacent to Governor House.
"We had our Fellowship lunch and Nine Lessons Carol service (The service includes carols and readings from the Bible) last Sunday. On Christmas we will have an hour-long service followed by a similar service on January 1," said Rangan Dutta, the church officer.
A spirit of yuletide pervades the air as men, women and children throng the decked-up churches across the city for the midnight mass or the morning service on Christmas.
The landmark St Andrew's Church in BBD Bag is all decked up in lights to spread the festive fervour. "Our Communion service will start at 9.30am on Christmas," said an official in the church office.
But it is the oldest church in Kolkata at stone's throw from St Andrew's where one can savour a slice of history. Old Mission Church on RN Mukherjee Road that dates back to 1770 held a candle light service and Parish dinner last Sunday.
"We had our Parish dinner and candlelight service last Sunday. On Christmas, a choir and orchestra will regale the members. This will be followed by Bible reading after which the Holy Communion will be served," said T.L. McCrahan, the secretary of the church.
At Sacred Heart Church on Lenin Sarani members and devotees will start congregating from early in the morning. "The special service will be held in the chapel on the first floor," said Soosai Manickam, the parish priest of the church.

 

But it is the midnight mass at St Paul's Cathedral that symbolises the inclusive nature of Christmas where lakhs throng not only from the city from far flung areas. Arrangements are already underway to make arrangements to make it possible for everybody to attend the mass and offer their prayers. The church has been illuminated with flickering lights.
Several members of the Christian community say that the Christmas mood in Kolkata is unparalleled.
Elizebath D Cunha's sons and daughters are based in several countries in the west. But the septuagenarian prefers to celebrate the festival in Kolkata. "I can go to any country where Christmas is celebrated on a much bigger scale. But I will never do it because I feel Kolkata is the best during this time. It is not only the community but the entire city that comes forward to participate in the festivities," said the resident of Elliot Road.
With churches decked out in Christmas fineries and ringing with the yuletide tunes there is indeed something wonderfully uplifting about Christmas in Kolkata.

Courtesy: TOI

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