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Christmas Festival 2022 kicks off amid fanfare

24 December, 2022 10:47:59
Christmas Festival 2022 kicks off amid fanfare

Christmas is one of the major festivals in Bengal. Under the aegis of West Bengal Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, Kolkata Christmas Festival was initiated in 2011 by the tourism department of the Government of West Bengal, in association with the Christian community. This year heralds the 12th edition of the carnival which was inaugurated by Ms. Banerjee on December 21. Organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal in association with Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolkata Police, Information and Culture Department and Apeejay Surrendra Group. The dignitaries present at the inaugural event included Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza, Bishop of the Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India (CNI) Paritosh Canning, Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brian; West Bengal minister of tourism Babul Supriyo, Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, West Bengal Minorities’ Commission vice-chairman Shane Calvert, Chief Secretary, Dr Harikrishna Trivedi, Home Secretary B.P. Gopalika, Commissioner of Police Vineet Kumar Goyal and Secretary of Tourism Department Dr Soumitra Mohun.

The hon'ble Chief Minister of West Bengal inaugurated the event at 4.30 pm yesterday. The festival will continue till December 27. State Tourism Minister Babul Supriyo sang 'Vishwapita Tumi O Prabhu' and 'Aguner Parshmani'. In her inaugural address, the Chief Minister reminded the audience that “people here follow different religions, but come together to celebrate during various festivals.…. We want peace to prevail in the entire world. West Bengal is a state where people are not divided on the basis of their religious identity. We don't believe in separatism. That's why we come together to celebrate all festivals together. We are the first in the country to begin our celebrations days ahead of Christmas.”

Park Street is all lit up for the Kolkata Christmas Festival. The themed lighting begins from St. Xavier’s College on Park Street and stretches up to Jawaharlal Nehru Road at one end and the Mullickbazar crossing on the other. The area around St. Paul’s Cathedral on Cathedral Road has also been lit up. Artisans from Chandannagar were commissioned to do the decoration for the carnival.  The illuminations will be up till the first week of January to commemorate the essence of the festival. 


Bo-Barracks has been added to the 12th edition of the event this year and the entire stretch is illuminated. As one enters the narrow lane between Hare Street and Bowbazar Police Station, one can see rows of red houses on both sides of the road. Bow-barracks is all brightly lit up. Besides, a giant Christmas tree and a figurine of Santa Claus have also been set up that attract visitors entering the lane. Cakes and red wine are being sold on one side of the narrow lane. Shane Calvert, vice-chairman of the West Bengal Minorities Commission, said, "The lights in the Bow-Barracks will be remote-controlled this year. We want to highlight the actual beauty of the Anglo-Indian way of life.”

Like the previous years, this year too, the evenings will see performances and choral presentations from the city’s best choirs — church groups, youth bands and more followed by the main performances. Michael Shane Calvert, chief coordinator of the Kolkata Christmas Festival, said, "Visitors from different parts of the country speaking diverse languages throng the festival. So, keeping everyone in mind, the carols will be sung in English, Hindi, Bengali and Nepali languages.”

The musical events are being held at Allen Park like every year. Cultural programmes  are being hosted from December 21 to December 30, except on December 24 and 25 when Allen Park will be closed. The Buskers’ Musical programme are being held on Camac Street from December 21 to December 23, 6pm to 8pm. 

Christmas is one of the major festivals of Kolkata. A large number of people, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, participate in the celebrations. Christmas festival is back in all its glory and grandeur this year after two years of low-key celebrations because of the pandemic. The temporary food stalls, which were not set up during the past two Christmases because of the pandemic, have made a comeback this year. There are around 30 food stalls where the visitors can enjoy not just Christmas cakes and chocolates, but a wide variety of cuisines, including Chinese, Goan and Anglo Indian. For those who cannot visit Park Street, can watch the goings on via Facebook Live streaming.

The festival is not going to be concentrated in the city alone but have been organized in the districts as well.  Churches in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Chandannagar, Bandel, Krishnanagar and Baruipur and police commissionerates in Alipurduar, Asansol, Howrah, Bidhannagar and Jhargram have also been illuminated. Similarly, Park Street and Bow-Barracks will remain illuminated till January 10. During Christmas holidays, the footfalls at Alipore Zoo, Victoria Memorial, Birla Planetarium, Indian Museum, Nico Park, etc. remain very high. Therefore, in the last week of December, the state transport department is taking special measures to handle the massive crowd expected this year.

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