Within the first few days of 2016 I received a good news from my friend Robert about the Chinese community in Kolkata celebrating the Chinese New Year 2016 with a Lion Dance Festival. Previously I had seen lion dance at the Elder’s Day celebration but to see it in an open platform would be something really different. This would also mean that for the first time I would be attending this Lion Dance festival in the first place.
The event was slated for 31st of January 2016 and exactly two days before the event I get a confirmation message from Indian Chinese Association (ICA) that I have been selected as one of their official photographer and blogger. This privilege entitles me to access the main stage at a closer range thus ensuring the best possible angles for photographing the acts.
Food trucks are quite common across the United States of America and is considered as one of the prime examples of Street Food outlet. But here is India this is very much a new concept and is yet to catch on. Kolkata being a food lover’s paradise had some of these food trucks in form of Benfish busses which used to shell out the staple Fish Fry, Fist Butter Fry, Fish Fingers etc. The choices were pretty much within few items and hygiene could actually not be questioned. There were also some which were managed by ex-servicemen across the lakes and park but these generally stuck to tea, biscuits, cakes and chips.
Christians have very few festivals so we tend to extend the Christmas fun as much as possible. The best example for this is that of “Boxing Day”, traditionally this was observed a day after Christmas that is 26th of December. On this day the rich and high in the society used to distribute gifts to the servants and to the general population in boxes and thus the tern “Boxing” got derived from it. It has nothing to do with Boxing the sport but more to do with packing of gift in boxes.
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve; Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves; Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
On 13th of December 2015, Christians in Kolkata celebrated “Harvest Festival”, this is a tradition wherein a Sunday in the month of December is dedicated to celebrate the new harvest. In Bengali this is known as the “Nobanno Utsab”. This is somewhat similar to that of Thanksgiving but it’s more to do with the new harvest than a Turkey. This day is observed to thank God for the wonderful harvest for the year, this tradition and its timing varies from country to country as the main harvest season differs in different country.
Calcutta during the month of December puts up a new makeup and for a month and completely transcends in to a party mood. Calcutta somehow gets associated with Christmas celebrations much more than any other city in India according to me, it may be due to its colonial heritage that Christmas in Calcutta is something truly different.
I belong to a very tiny Bengali Christian community in this city and we do celebrate Christmas a little differently. Talking about Christmas the first thing that comes to our mind is Christmas cake, something without which Christmas is not really Christmas.
For my birthday I wanted to do something different this year, in the sense that instead of having a gala lunch or dinner with my family I wanted to have a grand breakfast. Talking about breakfast what could be better than a gala Chinese breakfast in the heart of our grand old city of Kolkata.