Rejoicing & Reflection: Anglo Indians Celebrate Christmas In Odisha’s Jatni
By- Md. Mojahid Raza
Jatni: Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of god and family and to create memories that will last forever. The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love, generosity and goodness. It waves a magic wand over the earth and everything becomes softer, more beautiful. In short, Christmas isn’t a mere festival or a season, it is an emotion.
Although Christmas is celebrated with much gaiety and fanfare all across the state, the festival has a unique charm in Jatni, a quite little town on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. Home to the largest Anglo Indian population in Odisha, Jatni boosts of some
Xmas celebrations are marked by reunions, parties, midnight masses and get-togethers in Jatni. As a community, the Anglo-Indians are fond of food, dance, singing and merry making. The celebrations start with midnight mass at the Sacred Heart Church during the zero hour on Christmas eve. The prayers are followed by fun games, laughter and food.
Silvia D’Souza, who works for an event management company says Christmas reminds her of childhood
The festivities kickstart on the evening of December 23. Carols are sung to spreads the message of peace and love which Jesus preached. The members of the Anglo-Indian community put up Christmas trees in their houses and decorate it with beautiful lights, carnations, motifs, toys
According to Linda Valentine Carrison, Christmas is like an annual grand affair for the Anglo-Indian families. “Christmas for me is a time for
Jatni has over 140 Anglo-Indian families who live mostly in Railway Colony, Traffic Colony, and
The first generation of Anglo Indians in Jatni were mainly the Railway and Telegraph employees. After the country attained independence in 1947, some stayed back in Jatni while others settled in places like the USA, the UK, Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.
Those who stayed back in Jatni have carved a niche for themselves by adapting to the local lifestyle and culture and picking up the local parlance. Their cuisine is an amalgamation of British and Indian dishes and consists non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian fare.
“Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us- a time when we can look back at the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead. Christmas is about rejoicing as well as reflection” says Linda Rose, a teacher by profession.