In the recent years, the holiday spirit that comes along with the month of December seems to be taking over the people of Kathmandu. It’s not only the Christians of Kathmandu who celebrate Christmas anymore. Isha Upadhyay set out to find why people celebrate Christmas with such zeal in the valley.
It’s been six years since me and my friends began celebrating Christmas. We started out in the 10th grade when we tried to make it our ‘last hurrah’ before SLC (it wasn’t, we went for New Years too) but now it has become a tradition to get together on Christmas. All of us gather and spend quality time with one another, reminiscing the old days. We find ourselves just nursing a drink or two as all of us are on a tight budget for the New Years. Though we don’t intend it to, this holiday brings us together and the merry making makes us forget the ill feelings we may have fostered over the year. My best Christmas was the one I spent at the Irish Pub in 2014. I wasn’t having much to drink but there was something about the ambience and being there with my brothers that made it one of the fondest memories I have.
Srijana Rani Berma
Up until a couple of years ago, Christmas used to mean a jolly time for me and my family. My daughter would insist on having a Christmas tree despite the fact that we were not Christians and we would all go to the kitchen and make lunch or dinner after decorating the tree. However, it hasn’t been the same since she left for India for her studies. So after two years of doing nothing special for Christmas, we are planning on having a small barbeque party for some of our family friends. My husband, son and I have each prepared a small list of people and are debating on whether we want to turn it into a big affair by exchanging gifts or not. Since secret Santa is a fun idea, we might even end up doing that and having a fun and festive night.
I have Christian friends who celebrate the holiday and I have been celebrating it with them for the past six to seven years. They always want to tell me the reason why Christmas is celebrated but I haven’t paid them any heed yet. I just know that it’s got something to do with Jesus and that it’s a big celebration. I mean no disrespect to their culture and their religion but I have just never really paid attention to or remember the story. Everyone used to go out and party and so I would too and I ended up having the best nights ever. So now every year I look forward to going out and letting loose with my friends during Christmas.
There is a church in my neighborhood which always invites us for Christmas mass and this year my friends and I have decided to check it out. We always heard people singing and preaching through the loudspeaker they use every Saturday during mass and it sounds like so much fun. The added incentive for it is that some of my neighbors went for mass last year and said that the food was really amazing. Being a foodie, that appeals to me more than anything else. We are however hoping that they won’t get too preachy after the mass and try to convert us because we have heard that it happens to people all the time. This will be the first time I will go to church and I’m looking forward to this learning experience.
This year I’m celebrating Christmas at the Irish Pub. I like their ambience and the people who come here are all very friendly and nice. I have been celebrating Christmas since high school which honestly feels like such a long time ago. My friends and I celebrate it not because it’s a big holiday and a festival for a lot of people around the world but just an excuse to party. Our otherwise nagging parents also let us have this one night out knowing that with the influence of the western culture we will definitely want to get out and have fun with our friends. In fact, there was a time when we didn’t really have a plan and our parents were so shocked that we ended up going out without a definite plan in mind and had one of the most memorable nights ever.
Though I have plans for Christmas and we made the plans because it was Christmas, we don’t plan on doing any typical holiday thing. My colleagues and I are going to Kalinchowk for the weekend. We have a holiday on Sunday because of the festival so we are planning to leave on Friday afternoon and return on Sunday evening. This conveniently placed holiday has become an excuse for us to go on an excursion and given us time to wind down from the daily hassle of life. We are looking forward to getting out of the noise and the pollution of the valley and reconnect with nature.