With nearly a third of the Goan population being Christians, Christmas is one of the major festivals of the state. The gaiety begins around mid-December with things like carol singing, concerts, street decorations, illuminated village nativity scenes and Christmas markets and continues till the New Year eve.
During our Goa food tour last month we got the opportunity to experience this festive vibe, that filled us with great joy. Every place was decked up with colourful lights and decorations and the merry spirit was visible all through.
On Christmas Eve, our lovely hosts Raul and Mack from Local Beat, a brilliant offbeat tour company from the state, took us to Andrew's house to enjoy a day long traditional celebration. Here we were joined by some more visitors.
The warm and gracious family had arranged for various activities including a traditional sweet making session. After a brief introduction, we joined Mack to gather some details about the festive activities that take place both at homes and the community. The glisten in his eyes as he recalled his childhood memories was precious.
After that lovely conversation we settled down for a festive breakfast. There was tea and various kinds of sweets. Then after Andrew's mom showed us how the traditional sweet Pinagr is made for the feast. These rice flour and jaggery based sweet treats were quite delicious. After popping those sweets we joined Andrew to know the story behind Christmas.
Finally we all got along to decorate the outdoors. Over light and funny anecdotes and songs, we all decorated the Christmas tree and made five-pointed stars from paper stretched over wooden frames.
After finishing with all the decorations and arrangements we settled down for a carol singing session. While it was on a group from the neighbourhood arrived singing carols, to exchange wishes.
Soon it was time for dinner. The table was laid out with home made wines like Bimbli, Guava, Cashew etc. and traditional delicacies Chicken Xacuti, Sanna, Poi etc. which were prepared with such love and care by Andrew’s mom. With light and balanced flavours and varied textures, the food was simply gratifying.
We truly cherish the gleeful and enriching interaction with all the lovely people over there. Heartfelt thanks to team Local Beat, Andrew and his family and all the co visitors for all the fun, warmth, laughter and care. Happy viewing!!