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A different Christmas

entertainment Updated: Dec 25, 2010 01:02 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Can Christmas be celebrated without the usual paraphernalia of Christmas cakes, Christmas stockings and Santa caps?

The answer is yes. This might surprise the largely non-Christian population of this city, who form their idea of a typical X’mas revelry from Hollywood flicks, Star World soaps and south Delhi’s expat friendly restaurants.


Those shaking head in disbelief must set an appointment with those Delhi-ites who hail from Jharkhand. Many of them being catholic Christians, their Christmas feasts do not include the stereotypical Christmas cake. Instead, they swear by

irsa roti

, the traditional Christmassy dish of deep fried dumplings made of rice-flour. But it’s actually

dubni roti

, which is the equivalent of a Christmas cake in Jharkhand.

Delhi has a large population of Christians from places like Chhota Nagpur, a plateau which covers a large expanse of states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Christmas for its people, is not about carols, but


ot grape wines, but rice liquor; not midnight mass, but meesa puja.

In the meesa puja, the bhajans are sung in regional languages like Khariya, Sadhsi and Munda. English is as Greek as Italian. Popular culture, though, is making inroads. Cakes have gained acceptance. In Delhi people return to their houses after the midnight mass but there, dances go on till morning. The fervour reaches its climax on the Christmas day when the village youth gathers and collects food from each household and goes for a picnic by the riverside.