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Christmas in Bengaluru

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There is love true love, and the heart goes round, When the Lord to Bethany came….,
It’s a happy happy day and the golden timesWhen the Lord to Bethany came…..”

The above lines resonant every where and everyone would be greeting each other by saying Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, i.e. 25th of December every year, ending the year with grand celebration world wide. Every where you will find well illuminated roads, houses, shops, etc.

The word Christmas comes from the words ‘Cristes maesse’ or “Christ’s Mass”. Christmas is thecelebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D. According to the Christian gospels, Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, where she and her husband Joseph had traveled to register in the Roman census. Christians believe that Jesus’s birth, or nativity, fulfills the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin and bridge the separation between God and mankind.

St Mark's Cathedral, M G Road, Bangalore (3)The celebration of Christmas is different in different parts of India – a country of diversity. If in the North East it is celebrated in one way, in the South West it is done in another way. Christians decorate mango or banana trees at Christmas time. Sometimes they also decorate their houses with mango leaves. In south India, small clay oil-burning lamps are used as Christmas decorations; they are placed on the edges of flat roofs and on the tops of walls just as the Hindus do during their festival called Diwali. Churches are decorated with poinsettias and lit with candles for the Christmas Eve service. They give presents to family members and baksheesh or charity to the poor people.

However, for the urban regions the ingredients of the festivities are the familiar X-mas trees (mostly potted) decorated with stars and tinsels, toys, plastic fruits, and colorful streamers and illuminated well are placed in front of the Christian houses, shops and restaurants. Santa is also seen in some streets and some shops. And departmental stores deploy Santa to entertain their kid-customers. In the major cities of India caroling processions are also seen on streets and thorough fares.

.Though Hindus and Muslims comprise majority of the population, Christmas is celebrated with much fanfare in this secular country. The Day is a national holiday and people irrespective of their religion enjoy it along with Christians.

Food, glorious food. Christmas in Bangalore is definitely all about eating after attending the numerous choice of Churches! International luxury hotels serve up a vast Christmas buffets with all the favorites: roast meat (including turkey), roast vegetables, and deserts to die for. Most hotels in Bengaluru will hold a special Christmas dinner of some description but it may have more of an Indian flavor to it.

Old Churches – The architectural marvels of Bangalore

 Bangalore is home to a number of historic and extremely impressive cathedrals, basilicas, chapels and churches which are important architectural symbols and landmarks of the city. These churches belong to diverse Christian communities, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the ancient Syrian Church of Kerala and its reformed counterpart, the Mar Thoma Church, Protestants from the Church of South India (which includes Anglicans, Lutherans and other older denominations) and newer evangelical groups with links to the United States. Some of historic churches in Bengaluru constructed during the British Raj and worth visiting during Christmas:

BasalicaSt Mary’s Basilica, Shivajinagar, Bangalore
St. Mary’s Basilica was originally built as a small chapel in 1818 and was transformed into the present grand Gothic-style church some 60 years later. The stately arches of the church are supported by stained glass windows and multiple columns built in a rich Corinthian style.

St John’s Church, St John Road, Bangalore
This Anglican Church dating back to 1853 is a beautiful structure with a tall spire that can be seen from a distance.

St Francis Xavier Cathedral, St John Road, Bangalore
St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral was opened on 26th May 1932. The blue and while domes atop the stone towers really catch the eye.

St Andrew’s Church, Cubbon Road, Bangalore
St. Andrew’s Kirk, is a Scottish church built in the 1860s and features a particularly grand pipe organ, together with detailed stained-glass windows depicting scenes from the bible.

Infant Jesus Shrine, Viveknagar, Bangalore
Infant Jesus Church at Vivek Nagar is one of the biggest churches in Karnataka and a popular pilgrimage centre. The foundation was laid in April 1970 by Rev.Dr.Lourduswamy, the then Archbishop of Bangalore and the church was completed in the year 1979.

Hudson Memorial Church, Hudson Circle, Bangalore
Hudson Memorial Church was built in memory of Rev. Josiah Hudson. This stone building was built in 1904 in a mixture of Gothic and classic styles.

Sacred Heart Church, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore
This church built in 1867, is a rare combination of Gothic and French style of architecture consisting of solid granite rock-blocks, marble interiors, beautifully sculptured statutes and pillars decorated with Corinthian style carvings. The church features typical Roman style side altars, two parallel column towers and a mighty bell from Italy.

St Mark’s Cathedral, M G Road, Bangalore
St. Mark’s Cathedral dates back as far as 1808 and is known for its beautiful colonial facade, large dome, external bells, elaborate carvings, woodwork and monuments. It was originally built in 1808 and enlarged in 1901.

 

 



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