Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas sweets as we do in Goa

Christmas sweets as we do in Goa

How do we celebrate the Christmas?
Christmas is not only decorating the house, making sweets, buying new dresses / shoes, going for parties, but the celebration of coming of Jesus Christ the Lord our Saviour in the world as an Infant to save us from sins / other evil things. We have to turn away from the sins, pride, Jealousy and other evils to welcome him in our hearts and home. This is the true celebration of Christmas.

How we prepared for this Christmas?
At the beginning of the Advent, we cleaned ourselves spiritually by going for confessions and prepared mentally and spiritually for the coming of our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago we started decorating the house. Its takes a lot of time atleast 2 to 3 days to put the things in its place. One can feel the real joy specially the children while putting the colourful ornaments on the Christmas tree and other decorations too. You can see a complete change in the hall. O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! Your decorations are of history. It is a tree of knowledge and each decoration has a deep meaning.

A week later we started preparing the Christmas sweets as we do in Goa . These Goan sweets are not available in Kuwait as it takes a lot of time and hardwork, as we are normally busy with our day to day routine work. Goan Christmas sweets are unique and quite different from other Indian states and other countries too. In Goa the main Christmas sweets are neurios, vodde, kulkuls, marzipan, bebinca (the queen of Goan sweets), dodol (made out of coconut juice, rice & coconut jaggery), bathe, doce de grĂ£o (gram dal sweet), bolinhos de coco, gons (cobwebs in English), perada, mandare (Pumpkin & Rice sweet). It is a tradition; in each and every Christian house in Goa do not celebrate the Christmas season without these sweets. During Christmas season Christian folks in Goa distribute these sweets “kunswar” with their neighbours, relatives and friends as a token of love for each others.

As I said above, it is very difficult to prepare the above sweets in Kuwait , but still I find time and make an attempt at every Christmas, to prepare these sweets as I feel Christmas is not enjoyable without these sweets. Besides these sweets I also make some unique and special cookies of all sort of Christmas symbols such as Christmas trees, Wreaths, Snowman, Stockings, bells, stars, rocking horse & musical notes which you can see in the below pictures. Children like to eat these colourful cookies. I also make the smallest and unique neurios which measures only 1and ½ inch which our relatives and friends love to eat. It consumes lot of time to prepare these types of neurios. You can see these neurios in the below pictures.

My Grandmother used to tell me that in olden days how they were celebrating the Christmas. They used to prepare the above sweets well in advance except the neurios. After the midnight Christmas Mass, they used to come home and prepare the neurios and eat it hot with a cup of hot black tea. There was no electricity in Goan villages then. People used to make star of bamboo sticks and with different colourful fine papers and hang the stars on a tree infront of their houses with a small kerosene / oil lamp inside the star. There were no ready made stars available in the market in those days. In the evening, the Elders used to tell Children different stories of Christmas by sitting under the dim light of the hanging star in the courtyard. This used to go throughout the Christmas season.

There is a lot of difference of celebrating of the Christmas during the olden times and now.


Photographs, picture layout and designs by
Kuwait-based photographer: Simon Dias.

Special thanks to Anthony Fernandes & Lino B. Dourado, team.

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