On a Christmas walk

Get free history and peace lessons at X’mas cribs across Mumbai

Stonewall Apartment, Amboli
As a 15-year-old, Amboli resident Richard Barretto decided to start pitching in for the making of the local community crib which stands outside Stonewall Apartments every Christmas. Now, with most friends having left the country, he’s one of three people left working on it.

What you will get in this 15-ft-long crib is tradition with the stable, grass, mountain etc. The only addition will be waterfall, which kids love, he says. “Over the years, many people have stopped decorating their houses. This is a way for everyone to get together to celebrate,” he adds. Be here on X’Mas eve to enjoy an evening of carols and traditional festivities.

Old Kurla Gaothan , Hall Village Road
Touted as one of the biggest cribs in the city, the 60 feet by 20 feet structure combines the spiritual with the ecological. The landscape and hut are made out of waste materials such as bamboo, sawdust from mills and sacks.

And, here is the little twist. Instead of the life-size statues, Clive D’Mello, a resident of the gaothan, decided to go with mannequins sourced from stores. “This area used to be a dumping ground. We got together and cleared it up and we are proud of the crib that stands on it now,” says Anita Shetty, president of the Old Kurla Christian Village Citizens’ Forum.

The village’s previous crib won first prize in last year’s crib-competition conducted by the Mobai Gaothan Panchayat. Christmas cheer in the village will be replete with a carnival and open-air carol singing in several languages.

Orlem Tank Road Crib
“In 2013, the theme of our crib was that since Christ’s government was a stable one, so should be ours,” says Bonnie Pereira, a MNS shakha head who has been managing the Orlem Tank Road Crib for six years now.

Before that, the crib used to be inside his home. “Last year, we spoke about how baby Jesus and his parents weren’t getting a place to stay. This year, the theme is against terrorism, and the fact that people are being killed, like how the Pharaoh gave orders for baby Jesus to be killed,” says Pereira.

The 22 by 8 feet crib is made by a professional team of crib builders and is funded by businessmen of the Orlem community. “For 25 years I made it myself but it takes around 8 to 10 days to make a crib. So now I have outsourced it. But it's on the road as we want everyone to admire it and learn from it.”

St Theresa’s Church, Girgaum
Tucked away in a nondescript lane of Girgaum lies St Teresa’s Church, an institution that has seen generations of devouts since 1773. Every year parishioners and students come together to make a crib in the front porch.

The theme is decided keeping in mind the current socio-policital situation. “This year the theme is built around desert due to the water crisis in the world. We’re going to show a sand pit, an oasis and Jesus near the source of water,” says Lucy Bothelo, one of the organisers.

This year, the Church will also witness a fete, Chrismasti that will include parades, carol singing, performance by RJ Bosco and a show by designer James Fereira.

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