Like most festivities this year, the Prabhu Yeshu Janmotsav Christmas celebrations at Girgaum Chowpatty, which has been ringing in Christmastide in the city since 1965, will also move online.
Dr Abraham Mathai, chairperson of Prabhu Yeshu Janmotsav, on Tuesday wrote a letter to Assistant Municipal Commissioner Prashant Gaikwad saying, “As responsible peace-loving and law-abiding citizens, the Christian community has decided not to have it (Prabhu Yeshu Janmotsav) publicly this year to ensure that there will be no rise in Covid cases.”
Mathai said the celebrations will be held virtually with the participation of Christians from across the country. “We would usually have the celebrations on the second or third Sunday of December and over 25,000 people would come, some from Kochi, some from Ahmedabad. Hymns would be sung in different languages, the Marathi Christians would even wear their nauvaris (nine-yard sarees). It started in 1965 when the then Governor P V Cherian’s wife, Tara Cherian, would come from Raj Bhavan to Chowpatty and sing hymns with everybody. This is the first time that it has been interrupted since,” he said.
Like any other community, Mathai said, they would have liked to celebrate like they did every year but keeping in mind the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, they decided against gathering for the celebration.
“Even if social distancing is maintained, which is very easy at the beach, after the gathering people tend to linger and chat. So we didn’t want that to happen. So we decided to celebrate online. Some participants will sing live, others will record their videos and send,” Mathai said.