Christmas: Our parties were livelier and more fun, says Jennifer Rodrigues

Updated: Dec 23, 2018, 14:41 IST | Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

Head of Department (History) at National College of Bandra, Dr Jennifer Rodrigues talks about her favourites Christmas memories and more...

Pic/Bipin Kokate
Pic/Bipin Kokate

Dr Jennifer Rodrigues
Head of Department (History) at National College, Bandra
Goan Catholic
Grew up in Santacruz

For the last 30 years, we have been holding a feast on Christmas day at our 80-year-old bungalow, Donna Marrie in Santacruz. It was a tradition started by my grandmother. Previously, it was just the family that made up the Christmas party, but due to migration and other circumstances, our family shrunk. Our doors were then thrown open to extended family. This has now become tradition, where anybody and everybody can partake in the celebrations.

An invite is unnecessary. The most interesting part is that we have never run out of food ever. The menu consists of traditional Goan dishes such as vindaloo, roast chicken, cutlets and meatball curry. We also prepare guava cheese, nevris, kulkuls, bibinca, fruit cakes and jujubes. We cook for about 50 to 60 people and there are times when the number exceeds our expectation, but fortunately it has worked out fine.

My father, Leo, who is a former bodybuilder and worked for the Western Railways, fondly recalls how revellers would prefer to celebrate Christmas at our terrace instead of the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana across the road, because the music was livelier and more fun. With every passing year, new guests are added as we end up meeting and interacting with more people.

It's also a time to thank all those who have been a part of our lives through the years. It's my interest in the community that eventually led me to present a PhD thesis on the contribution of the Catholic communities of Mumbai, where I spoke to all the people who migrated from other states like Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and made the city their home.

How to celebrate Christmas: The best way is to enjoy the process of prepping for Christmas, right from the decorating your home to rustling up delicacies. I assure you, it is fun.

Also read: Christmas: Got suits stitched and paraded myself to church, says Culinary director Gresham

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