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Christmas celebration in Kolkata 2016 with Flurys

Flury, Nahum and Park Street make christmas in kolkata a seductive affair Soptomi Ghosh

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Calcutta Christmas Celebration over the ages

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In the occasion of the birthday of Jesus Christ, the whole world celebrates Christmas, while the city of Kolkata celebrates ‘Borodin’ (Grand Day). The day is celebrated with great grandeur in various parts of the city, the main place being the famous Park Street. The relation of Christmas of Kolkata and Park Street is very deep, almost like an unbreakable bond. Yet, the celebration doesn’t end in the Park Street. The lights, stars, and decorations bring out the festive mood of the Christmas till the arrival of a brand New year.



History

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The celebration of Christmas had tentatively started at Kolkata with the arrival of the British Empire. The proper city of Kolkata was established in the hand of the British Empire and it was the capital of India for a long time. The oldest church of Kolkata is the Armenian Church. The history of the Armenians at Kolkata is extended far back than the arrival of the British people. However, this church cannot be listed as one of the grand places to celebrate Christmas during 25th December as the Armenian Christmas is celebrated on the 6th January.
St John’s Church was the first church which was established by the British Empire. It was the second oldest church of Kolkata after Armenian Church and the Old Mission Church. The Christmas had been celebrated with great grandeur in this church. It had served as the Anglican Cathedral of Kolkata for a long time. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the whole European Community used to gather in this church for the midnight mass on the Christmas Eve, and also for the Christmas day rituals.
In the year 1847, the Anglican Cathedral had been shifted to the St. Paul’s Cathedral, as St John’s Church was becoming less accommodating for the growing European populations of Kolkata. Till that year, this church is the most popular church for Kolkata for Christmas celebration. With the proximity to the Park Street, this church is a must visit during the Christmas time.

Park Street

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The Christmas of Kolkata cannot be defined without mentioning the Park Street. During Christmas time, all roads of Kolkata lead towards the iconic Park Street. It is located in the central part of the city, closer to the other main city points, Dharmatala and Excide. From a very early age, Park Street is a known as the ‘Food Street of Kolkata’. Along with the traditional fine dining restaurants, Park Street is also famous for the traditional nightclubs and modern-day pubs. During the Christmas time, Park Street lit up by thousands of lights, with the iconic displays of Santas in sledge, decorative Christmas tree etc. The people of Kolkata, regardless of any age and religion, are seen in the Park Street wearing the Santa Cap, colorful masks, and angel or demon headpieces.
The tradition of celebrating Christmas at Park Street is age-old. From the year 2011, this tradition had given the name of the Kolkata Christmas Festival by the tourism department of the state Government. Previously the themed lighting was lit on the small part of Park Street, from St Xavier’s College to Chowringee Road. These days, the Christmas lights are extended to the whole part of Park Street, from the Mallik Bazaar end to St Paul’s Cathedral.

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St Paul’s Cathedral is one of most famous place to visit during the Christmas time. Thousands of people lit the candles in front of the Cathedral with the hope of granting their wish. The place for lighting the candles is located in the main building of St Paul’s Cathedral, on the right-hand side after entering. The pathway till the main building shows the birth of the Jesus Christ through a decorative stable. After visiting the Cathedral, the crowd proceeds towards the Park Street through the Chowringhee Road. The spirit of Park Street can be felt through this short walk. On the side of the road, the temporary vendors of Christmas caps, masks, and colorful headgears normally line up to make the people prepare for entering the Park Street.
On the day of Christmas, the Park Street often erupts with the loud Cheering of the crowd. The traffic is stopped through the road and people proceeds with the happy notion. Apart from the restaurants, the iconic cake shop Flurys get overcrowded by the heavy demand of the various kinds of cakes. The road after the Flurys and its neighbor cake shop Au Boin Pain has turned towards the St Thomas Church. This is probably the second most famous church in Kolkata to celebrate Christmas. A huge portion of the crowd of Park Street turn towards this church to offer the prayer, or just to get the essence of visiting a church on Christmas day. On the Christmas day, regardless of any religion, people of Kolkata along with the young crowd of Park Street offer roses, lit a candle in this chapel.
Although the Park Street lighting is extended till the Mullick Bazaar area, the crowd of Park Street mainly reaches until the Allen Park area and St Xavier’s College. During the Christmas Eve and Christmas day, very few people are lucky enough to secure a place in the overcrowded restaurants located at the Park Street.

Main Markets for Christmas Shopping

In the case of Christmas shopping, the traditional markets precede for the choice of picking up the colorful decorations, cakes, and other essentials. The center part of the Hogg Market (New Market) is filled with the temporary stalls for the Christmas decorations, which are the most common place to pick up the Christmas Trees, colorful rings, Santa and Baby Jesus replicas and many more things in most budgeted price. The other parts of New Market are also famous for the Christmas shopping. The local markets also hold the temporary shops for Christmas marketing. Normally, the big shopping malls are not so famous in the case of shopping for Christmas at Kolkata.



Carnivals

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In the mid of Park Street, there is a charming park named Allen Park. The weeklong carnival on the Allen Park held from some day prior to the Christmas. The entrance of the park is decorated with a traditional Christmas tree, which is the most favorite place to click pictures and selfies. Numerous fast food stalls are put in this park, with various kinds of cuisines. From the various kinds of Chinese fast foods, the taste of authentic Japanese, Thai, Goan cuisine is present over here along with the traditional sweets and cakes. Some musical performances are held in the evenings. Overall, the Christmas spirit of the city is fully enjoyed during the Christmas days at Allen Park.
Apart from the well-known places like Park Street and other traditional churches, there is a quaint corner of the city where the Christmas Spirit of the city can be enjoyed fully. Bow Barracks, a small colony houses the Anglo-Indian community of the city. The taste of Christmas in Bow Barracks is quite different from the other parts of the city. Bow Barracks is located near the Central part of the city, where the colonial architecture still gives a glimpse of British era. The houses of Bow Barracks area is built with red brick, giving a feel of old Kolkata. The atmosphere of Bow Barracks in Christmas is different from the rest of the town. During the daytime, the smiling residents provide the locality a cheerful feeling, whereas on the night they celebrate Christmas with cultural programs, dance, and music.

3 best Restaurants to dine out

Park Street is famous for the various options of Dine-out. From the legendary fine dining restaurants to Chic nightclubs, along with the café and bakeries are located over this street. Yet, in the time of Christmas, it is a challenge to get a place in any one of the restaurants located on Park Street. Only the lucky early bird people can enjoy the spirit of true Christmas in the restaurants of this area.
Some of the restaurants to enjoy the spirit of Christmas are, Bar B Q/ Mocambo/Peter Cat These three restaurants are the backbone of the fine dining of Park Street. These traditional restaurants are the oldest restaurants to set the trends of fine dining in the city apart from the 5- star hotels. Peter cat is famous for its low light, reddish interiors, and its trademarked Chello Kebab. Located in the lane beside the Flurys and Au Bon Pain (Previously where the iconic Music World was located), Peter Cat is quite a famous choice for its authentic Mughlai cuisine during the Christmas. Mocambo is located at the mouth of Free School Street, which is commonly known as the Mirza Ghalib Street. The restaurant Mocambo is famous for its continental delicacies. Along with the other dishes, Mocambo is famous for its Sizzlers and Cocktails. Bar-B- Q is located on the main area of Park Street. Apart from its authentic Chinese and continental cuisine, Bar-B- Q can also accommodate more guests than the other two restaurants.

Someplace Else

The relation of Park Street with the nightclubs and pubs are very old. So, the music lovers can head towards the budgeted pub located inside the 5-star hotel, The Park. Someplace Else is also famous for the live bands performances held on a daily basis, even the new bands get to showcase their talent on the stage of this famous pub. During the Christmas time, this place is a heaven for all the music lovers visiting the Park Street.
This place is also good for a relaxing Christmas drink, along with the good choices of foods and great music.

Jimmy s kitchen, Theater Road

It is indeed a challenge to get the place in any restaurants located on Park Street during the Christmas time. So, if all the restaurants of the Park Street are full, it is wise to try some other restaurants around this particular street. One of the famous old restaurants is Jimmy's kitchen, which is located near the Theatre Road. The mouthwatering continental and Chinese dishes like Roasted Chilly Pork is the specialty of this restaurant. Located within the walking distance of the Park Street, this restaurant also presents the chance of a full meal in a very decent budget.

Cake Shops with history

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It is said that the cakes of Nahoum Sons bakery have the taste of the history. This historical bakery is the oldest Jewish bakery of Kolkata. The trend of Kolkata Christmas celebration also includes the fresh cakes of Nahoum Sons bakery. This bakery is located inside the Hogg Market, around the oldest part of the New Market. The original shop was established in the year 1902 on the outside of the Hogg market. Later, it was transferred to its current location in the year 1616. The original shop was established by the Nahoum Israel Mordecai.
The interior of the present shop also portrays the old architecture, the Italian Marble ceiling, the teak wood furniture and an excellent smell of the cake which is authentic of this bakery. Although the rum ball, lemon tart, chocolate fudge are popular of this bakery, during the Christmas time the demand is high for the authentic fruit cakes. The queue outside the shop during the Christmas time is a very common occurrence. The rich taste of the cakes of Nahoum Sons bakery is an essential part of the Christmas culture of Kolkata.
Apart from the Nahoum Sons bakery, the Christmas of Kolkata cannot be finished without the famous cake shop Flurys which is located on the Park street itself. In the year 1927, this cake shop was founded by a Swiss couple, Mr. and Mrs. J Flurys. This cake shop first introduced the city with the very famous Swiss Chocolate and the other sweet treats. At first, this cake shop is introduced as a tearoom, where the Europeans and the Elite class of Kolkata used to visit. The cake of Flurys can always be associated with the childhood, or with the bunking classes of the colleges. Till date, the American breakfast of Flurys is very popular among the people, whereas Christmas is the time for the marvelous pastries, Chocolate cakes, and Rum Balls.

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