St. Paul Church in
Malegaon was built in 1865
kids sell Christmas cheer on Bangalore roads:
Bangaloreans do not need a calendar to remind them of the Christmas
season. Street kids in tattered clothes, selling Christmas goodies
like Santa caps, masks, flowers and other knick....Read
As Christmas fever takes 25 odd Christian
families in Malegaon into its grips, newly painted walls of the St.
Paul Church built in 1865, the only cathedral in Malegaon, greets
people from a distance itself.
Comprising around 250-300 people, most
of these Christian families had migrated from places like Chalisgaon,
Vaijapur, Jalna and Yeola. Residing in the premises of the church,
they have now become the integral part of Malegaon. Come Christmas
and everyone goes into festive mood, but the excitement of Christmas
is more profound among the youngsters.
“Christmas in Malegaon starts with
special Christmas Eve prayers on 24th December. Once
finished with this, we reach to every house and sing carol till the
wee hours”, says 15-year old Jonah Meshramkar, who came to Malegaon
for celebrating Christmas from Shahada in Nandurbar district where
he is studying at SAM English School. “It is just mesmerizing when
everyone, while clapping in unison, sings Jingle Bell and other
Christmas songs in chorus.”
Mirudula Lokhande, 11 is more candid.
“I just can’t sleep for the whole night. It feels, riding on the
sledge and laughing all the way, Santa, with the whole lot of
gift-packs is knocking at my doorsteps”, she says.
Sending greeting cards to the
relatives has always been a way for remembering them while
celebrating the special moments. For the Malegaonians, however,
getting quality cards for any occasion has always been a tough task.
For this purpose, they rely on friends staying in metros. “My sister
who stays in Kalyan, seldom comes to Malegaon”, says Isaac Ramesh
Shinde. Then displaying the attractive greeting cards, he exults,
“Getting the cards from Nashik is a difficult task for a person like
me. Yet I send one to her in case she fails to join us for
Though Isaac is missing his sister
this Christmas again, he is lucky to have many other people from the
town who cutting across the religion lines visit the church every
Christmas in large numbers. “I have come here specially to greet
fellow Christians”, says Shehnaz, who came to the church along with
her husband, Mohd Arif and two sons. David Meshramkar, vice
secretary of the Church Committee adds, “More than 10,000 people
belonging to various faiths come to the church every year on
Christmas and lit the candles that easily exceed 50,000 in numbers.”
The week-long celebrations that begin
with Christmas continue until the New Year starts on January 01. The
effect of the excitement surrounding the annual vista and coming
together of thousands of people from various faiths is invaluable
for Malegaon – the town hugely populated by Muslims and where
despite being famous for riots and bomb blasts people actually have
more than hundred year’s history of living together.