It’s almost Christmas, time to start prepping for the day of Nativity. Yes, it’salready in the air. The night carol-singing along with the messages of peace can be heard travelling from house to house and street to street. The shops are filled with Christmas garb, goodies and decorations. The good vibes can be felt deeply this year as last year, the celebrations were restricted. Moradabad is a small world of wonders within itself, where the gusto and exuberance of each and every festival is noticeable and has a touch of novelty every time. Be it the decorations or lightings or cakes and cookies, a certain uniqueness in the ambience cannot be missed. The customized and personalized gifts and stockings full of favourite delights are en vogue. The town is painted red and white in accordance with the colours of Santa. The symbols of Christmas are seen far and wide in the malls and bazaars, but the carnivals, fairs and fetes have all the novelties to offer.
Shikha Gupta, a woman entrepreneur and activist who has adopted the education and grooming of the underprivileged children and women, especially from rural backgrounds, has made efforts to generate employment for the women from the nearby villages. She excitedly tells- “To introduce and promote the organic Christmas trees, I got their farming done on my farms during the lockdown period. Now these trees are grown to a height of three to four feet and ready to enter the houses to be decorated as the most prominent figures for this grand festival.”
Beautiful and attractive handmade products are also being prepared by these village belles, as the machines are provided by her, that are promoted further by her to generate employment and thus give a better feel for the festive season. The macramé work, patch work, jute work, rattan mats, wicker and cane work to create hangings, coasters, Christmas stockings, caps, stars, sling bags and even their combinations with glass and wooden pots and so on. All these wonderful and handmade products are sold at the various stalls ofexhibitions and carnivals at the local churches and even exported to many countries. The whole group of workers even got together to enjoy the festivities dressed as Santa and Santee, decorating the organic trees withhandmade tinsel balls, figurines, and colourful miniatures.
This jolly festival is a month-long season of light and colours, of giving, forgiving and receiving, of cakes, carols and angels, and above all, dearest Santa. It’s a widely known fact that we Indians love exuberant, bright and happy colours during all the festivals, and Christmas is not an exception. The markets, malls, peddlers, and all local stores are colourfully draped in multi-coloured, shimmering and twinkling fairy lights, lanterns and stars, flowers and the bright cherry red coloured images of Santa Claus, in abundance. The decked-up brass gift shops have proudly projected the ornamental boxes, Christmas treestyle decorations, metal angels, bells, stars and spiral drops, pine wreaths and cones with the metallic chords and hooks that are in demand for export too. Vibrant metal lamps in various shapes and designs kept indoors and outdoors brightening the sky are gaining a lot of popularity.
The pomp and grandeur of the churches that are beautifully decorated withfancy lights, looking stunning at night, are just magnificent. The nativity plays and tableaus depicting the birth of Jesus Christare catching attention along with his crib and the decorated Christmas trees covered with cotton to give the effect of snow. The whole town of Moradabad fizzes with joy, warmth and enthusiasm.
Bakeries and cafes are tastefully decked in lights and flowers displaying a plethora of cakes and chocolates. Plum cake is most in-demand during this season, apart from rum cake. Monika Gupta is a popular name, known for her culinary skills, especially for the cakes that are much in demand in the Christmas season. The designs are typically based on the Christmas theme of Santa Claus, his cap, star, stocking, Christmas trees with icing and even without it. Keeping with the festival spirit, she even donates cakes to the poor. She says- “I use my passion for cooking as a creative hobby.Using my imagination and artistic skills gives me a lot of satisfaction. The appreciation that I receive motivates me to take part in competitions of culinary skills and win accolades.”
The spirit of Christmas cannot be anything other than that of joy, happiness, peace and togetherness. Christmas is a perfect time to spend quality time with your near and dear ones, and in Moradabad, full justice is done to this spirit of good vibes. The magic of Christmas never ends as its greatest of gifts are family and friends.