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  Life   More Features  23 Dec 2019  Unconventional Christmas

Unconventional Christmas

Published : Dec 23, 2019, 5:41 am IST
Updated : Dec 23, 2019, 5:41 am IST

For those looking to shake things up this festive season, there are plenty of new and exciting activities.

Conrad Coelho’s Dance Company
 Conrad Coelho’s Dance Company

With just a day left for Santa to bring in Christmas cheer and drop the gifts, the city is bustling with festivities and keeping the spirit of the festival alive. While the usual Christmas holiday would entail going to church and feasting on rum cake, a few city mavericks are breaking the monotony of celebration in new ways.

With lights twinkling in every corner of Bandra, that houses centuries-old Mount Mary’s Church, there is no better start than absorbing the history of Christmas from here. Reacquainting people with the rich cultural history of Bandra is Musafir Walks, which takes people around the iconic churches and villages in the area. “It was during the 16th century that Mumbai was handed over as dowry to the British, and all the important churches were built. This walk takes you to those churches. We take a walk covering the Mount Mary, exploring the 425-year-old St Andrew’s Church that is a rare example of Portuguese architecture, the Bandra Fort, and the Ranwar gaothan (village),” says Ketan Vaidya, founder, Musafir Walks.

The walk also takes one through the gaothan around the churches boasting of the Catholic population that continue to keep the Christmas traditions alive with utmost gusto.

“There were 16 gaothans in Bandra, but we take a walk through Rajan, Sherly, Mala and Kantwadi, that are characterised mostly by the East Indian population and Goan Roman Catholics. And while most of these gaothans have fallen prey to the city developments, you will still get to see the typical gaothan houses with the peculiar architects that define them,” shares Vaidya, who also narrates the history that has been orally passed down over many generations.

If walking and revisiting the old is not your thing, then perhaps a quiet day on a boat amid the calm waves and seagulls is a better choice. Starting from the Gateway of India to Taj Palace Hotel and Navy Nagar, this Christmas sail will take you through these iconic places with the sunset in the backdrop.

“It is a leisure sailing experience for two hours. People will be watching the sunset and enjoying the best view of the city. The idea is that you can spend your Christmas evening at home, but here you will be out in the open, enjoying Mumbai from a unique perspective,” says Yamini Walia, communications manager, Jack and Hill Adventures.

A small transfer boat picks you up from the shore and drops you to a waiting ship in the middle of the sea. The wind pushes the boat across the Mumbai harbour without the help of a motor. “The boat moves as the wind moves, and this takes around one and a half hours to complete,” adds Walia.

If you intend to take your child for a Christmas activity, camps narrating old French folk tales and classic Christmas stories of authors such as Hans Christian Andersen and Louisa May Alcott are the right places for you. Whereas for creative minds, learn to paint the cardinal bird this season as it is considered to be a symbol of love and warmth.

But for those keen on a more energetic activity can opt for the various dance classes held across the city. Latin and Ballroom dance teacher Conrad Coelho shares that during Christmas, the inquiries for the Foxtrot, Jive, and Waltz classes increase manifold. However, the prefer dance form is Foxtrot and Jive.

“The Slow Foxtrot is a progressive graceful ballroom dance that is seen mostly in formal parties and Christmas celebrations. Whereas, Social Jive is a freestyle version of the rock-n-roll, a must for all rock-n-roll lovers” smiles Coelho, whose classes are flocked by people aged between 25 and 40, while a few ‘young at heart’ students aren’t much far behind.

“Many beginners want to learn the basics so they can enjoy the Christmas dances.

The enthusiasm is so high that once they learn the Ballroom dancing, all they want to do is bring that out on the floor,” he adds. As per the dance teacher, the popularity of dance movies on Nextflix has filled people with the zeal to learn ballroom dancing.

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