“The Reason For The Season”
(The story of the birth of Jesus – from the Candle Bible For Kids)
I have a lot of memories revolving Christmas and what it meant to me when I was a child. It brings back vibrant memories of colours, food, music, movies and people. The events that surround this festival, the countdown to the actual day, the enthusiasm and cheer is something else. If I were to open the chest of my memories, I would not be able to pick just one. There are just too many! When I was in school we used to have the Crib competition to look forward to. A crib is a miniature model of the actual scene of The Nativity – the manger where Jesus was born. It typically consists of a open manger (a trough or an open box in which feed for livestock is placed – as in a stable) and the worldly parents of Jesus – Mary & Joseph and shepherds and their livestock that were present in the area surrounding the manger. The best presentation of this Nativity scene would fetch prizes. I remember that whoever was interested to take part would have to form teams and give their names & I used to always participate with my bunch of friends – a mix of Christian & non-Christians. The participation mattered, not the winning (err, well, the winning mattered too and the disappointment always followed when we didn’t win – haha!)
The run up to Christmas also had me listening to and singing the carols. A Christmas carol (also called a noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas. Since I was part of the Church Choir we used to go Carolling (singing the carols from door to door) – those days were so much fun!
Ready made Kuswar is available in many bakeries in Mangalore today. People consider it far easier to just shell out some money & buy the Kuswar than to actually toil over it. However, there is no guarantee of the freshness or quality of bakery bought stuff as bakers start the baking & making of eatables at least 2 months in advance. Today as the traditional joint families have been de clustered, women from nuclear families find it difficult to cope up with the challenges of the Kuswar making process (trust me, if you plan to make it single handedly like I did with small kids hanging around for good measure, it can take quite some time & a huge amount of your patience). The cheerfulness and camaraderie that we once shared with fellow ‘Kuswar makers’ (a.k.a siblings, cousins & aunts) is probably a thing of the past. I know a lot of people (especially you my dear readers who have written in to me since the past couple of months, asking for Kuswar recipes) who armed with the Kuswar recipes would cheerfully want to bring back the old times of making Kuswar at home and so in the days to come, I will post a few recipes that I have been personally tried & tested twice in my kitchen. This is my humble attempt to help all of us recreate the magic of Christmas.
Have a blessed & meaningful season folks!!