Mumbai, (The Hindu): Mumbaikars are flocking to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, popularly known as Mount Mary Church, in Bandra to celebrate Christmas.
The shops around the church were buzzing with excitement on Saturday with the festive crowd eager to buy new clothes, decorations and delicacies ahead of the festival.
Fatima Flower Shop had a variety of bouquets made of red roses, red daisies and white carnations on display. Reynold George, the florist, said, “This year, I have created bouquets using more than 14 combinations of white and red flowers. I have received special requests for bouquets for Christmas programmes held in offices and housing societies.”
Merlyn Ashworth, a resident of the area, said playing Secret Santa has become a regular feature in her housing society. Ms. Ashworth said, “Everybody participates in the game with great enthusiasm. Every year we receive surprise gifts from our Secret Santas.”
Ms. Ashworth said her family would be preparing chicken tikka, rum cake and Kal-Kal (a dish made of maida, sugar and ghee) for their guests this Christmas.
Cynthia, Ms. Ashworth’s mother, said, “Kal-kal is prepared rarely in Christian homes as only a few know the recipe. I know how to make it owing to my Anglo-Indian lineage.”
However, hawkers selling decorative items said that their clientele has diminished over the years with people opting for alternative forms of decoration. Regina Lawrence, who sells ornaments and coloured candles near the church, said the sale of decorative ornaments had dipped this year, but candles had a lot of buyers.
Ms. Lawrence said, “It is said that one must buy two candles, make a wish and light a candle. Then they are supposed to climb the stairs of Mount Mary Church with the lit candle in their hands. Once they reach the top, the second candle is lit. If both candles are still burning by the time they return their wish will come true.”
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