• Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Indian Mission embraces Christmas with carols and millets

The celebration at the Indian High Commission on Tuesday (12) evening brought together a broad spectrum of diaspora organisations

A chorister in the choir of King’s College Cambridge retrieves his song sheet from the floor during a rehearsal of their Christmas Eve service in King’s College Chapel on December 11, 2010 in Cambridge, England – Representative Image (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

The festivity of the Christmas season was brought to life at India House, adorned with radiant decorations and trees. The renowned Choir of King’s College orchestrated the carol singing, filling Gandhi Hall with the spirit of the season.

The celebration at the Indian High Commission on Tuesday (12) evening, which brought together a broad spectrum of diaspora organisations, included a performance by Mumbai-born opera singer Oscar Castellino who performed a special Hindi composition of the carol ‘Silent Night.’

There was also a special nod to the culmination of the International Year of the Millets 2023.

“One of my carols, ‘Khamosh Hai Raat’, is a Hindi take on ‘Silent Night’ that I composed and the inspiration behind that was sitar maestro Baluji Srivastava and (pianist) Mark Troop,” said Castilleno, who has been hailed as a “rising star” in the UK as an operatic baritone and composer.

“I felt that the Hindi language would lend itself beautifully to a Christmas carol like ‘Silent Night’,” he said.

The Choir of King’s College London, conducted by Dr Joseph Fort, performed a traditional set and included popular carols for the gathering to join in.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, who was the Guest of Honour, shared that the annual Royal Carol Service hosted by Catherine, the Princess of Wales, at Westminster Abbey will be telecast on Christmas Eve.

“So, we have begun our celebrations in the royal house already and I bring greetings from the Abbey,” he said.

Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendía, appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain by Pope Francis, represented the Catholic Church at the celebration.

“We are really delighted to celebrate Christmas, as we do all festivals, which truly is the hallmark of India – a land of festivals, a land of diversity and a land in which for us what marks festivals is joy, love, sharing and most of all light,” said Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK.

The event, which concluded with the ceremonial cutting of a cake created by Goan celebrity chef Clanny Rodrigues, also included a ‘Shree Anna’ display in Nehru Hall to mark the International Year of the Millets with a special Kodo & Proso Millet Kheer dessert as a highlight.


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