Covid dampens Christmas spirit in Kerala for second year

by IANS |

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 25 (IANS) Christmas is being celebrated on a low key in Kerala for the second straight year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The state is known for its Christmans celebrations as a large part of the population are Christians. According to 2011 census, of the 33 million people in Kerala, 18.38 per cent are Christians.

All the top leaders, including Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, have wished the people on the occasion.

Unfortunately, Kerala, which boasted of containing Covid when it engulfed the world, has emerged as the "Covid capital" as for several months and even now, it figures among the states with highest cases. The state also houses as many 37 Omicron cases and the Centre has warned that if not controlled, it could lead to another disaster.

Consequent to the pandemic blues, most of the Churches on Saturday saw a modest prayer session, with few laity taking part.

"We went for a drive at night to see if there are any midnight Christmas mass, but we had to return disappointed, as most of the churches were closed," said a couple celebrating their first Christmas after the wedding.

Several families were seen enjoying traditional Christmas breakfast together, this morning.

The people were seen feasting to mouth watering Appom (traditionally where fresh toddy is used to mix the dough) to be eaten with dishes of beef, chicken and at some places duck and pork.

Then comes the traditional big banana which is steamed and the egg roast.

A piece of cake and a glass of wine is now the new normal in most Christian homes.

With regards to the lunch, these days most prefer a steaming hot biriyani than the traditional lunch with fish and meat besides an array of curries.

"When we were young, all of us, which included the extended families, would gather at our ancestral homes at least a week before Christmas. Bursting crackers was the order of the day along with making of our own Christmas trees and giant stars. Today, with the nuclear family concept, each family takes off to a tourist location and very rarely siblings join together. Times have changed and along with it the pandemic has played spoilsport," said retired engineer Thomas Joseph, who is celebrating the festival with his wife as both their children could not come from Middle East.

State Health Minister Veena George knowing has cautioned all that there should be no laxity and all Covid protocols should be strictly adhered to. This also being a wedding season, she has warned that things will go out of hand if rules are violated.

But bakers are having a field day as the cost of kilogram of cake is more than Rs 700.

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