Ida and Saga are big fans of the Christmas holiday, and why wouldn’t they be? Santa’s elf, Nissen, visits every night for the first 24 days of December and leaves little gifts in the girls’ shoes. School’s out (at least when they’re enrolled in school) and the whole family does fun things together. And of course there are gifts.
We’re far from home and wanted Christmas to be a special time. When we were looking for a place in India that would throw a good Christmas festival, we were drawn to Kerala. The State has a population of about 33m people. Of these, 55% are Hindu, 27% are Muslims and 18% are Christians. Kerala’s 6m Christians make up more than a fifth of India’s Christian population.
One of the first things we saw were the Christmas lights set up all over the city. They make a great show.
Entire streets are lit up.
The houses look fabulous.
Even the more modest homes.
The churches put on a big show too.
Christmas Eve dinner is typically a lot of fun. We get together with family, eat great food, sing songs, dance around the tree and open gifts. We found a restaurant in Kochi that arranged a special menu for us and let us install a tree on the dinner table. We don’t have a lot of room in our bags (weight and space constraints) so we’ve been careful when it comes to thinking about gifts. Here’s Saga’s wishlist:
- Coloring book (small please).
We returned home from dinner with full bellies and happy hearts.
There’s no snow here. We traded in water for snow and spent Christmas day at an amusement park: Wonderla is located an hour away by rickshaw from Fort Kochi. Lots of rides and lots of attention (we were the only white tourists).
We were impressed by a couple of things.
The food was excellent. And healthy. At an amusement park.
Not a soul wore swimsuits. People went fully dressed into the water rides (you can see it on the link for Wonderla, above). Everyone walked around soaked from the rides, wearing saris, salwar kamise, kurtas, athletic wear. It was hot out and wet clothes were kind of refreshing.
And here’s a clip of the music they played. Terrific sound.
Listen to wdrla3 .wav by User 666885694 #np on #SoundCloud
At 5pm today:
Saga: ‘This is the best Christmas ever’.
Ida: ‘This is horribly awesome’.