Christmas spirit grips border areas in Assam

GUWAHATI: Along with the rest of the Northeast, the Yuletide spirit has gripped people in the border areas of rural Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam with churches decked up in most areas for prayers and midnight mass on Monday.

For many in these two districts, inhabited by a sizeable Garo population, Christmas means a special occasion for prayers, feasting and merry making.

Speaking to The Shillong Times from Goalpara on Christmas Eve, Thengsil Sangma, the general secretary of United Garo Autonomous Council Movement Committee said that the community in the two districts eagerly waits for the solemn occasion ever winter.

The committee has been spearheading a movement for a separate autonomous council for the Garos living in Assam. Sources say that over eight lakh from the community currently reside in the state.

“Over 150 churches have been decked up in the two districts, with evening prayers followed by the midnight mass scheduled for Monday and prayers and community feasting on Tuesday,” Sangma said.

“Christmas offers us a reprieve from the day-to-day routine activities,” he added.

The festival is being widely celebrated across churches in Bapujinagar, Bhalukdubi, Bakrapur, Damra Nishangram among others in Goalpara district, which have a good concentration of the community while those in Kamrup include Kinangaon, Langkhona, Donethi and Hahim among others.

Christmas is also being celebrated by the Garo community in North Guwahati.

“We have five churches in Baka alone. The ambience as of now is one of merry making. We have the midnight mass scheduled in the churches while tomorrow, we will have a community feast after the morning prayers. We have also packed eatables in plantain leaves for the invitees, including people from other communities as well,” Shining Marak, the secretary of the All Assam Garo Union, north zone, said.

Over 10,000 people live in the Baka area of North Guwahati alone.

 

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