While the city is just warming up for Christmas, the party in one corner of the city has already begun. Two days prior to Christmas, Bow Barracks ushers in the Yuletide spirit, with festivities spread over a week as the streets, decked with lights and streamers, turn into a fairground.
Barracks residents believe that festivities at the Anglo-Indian bastion, housing 130-odd families, are only getting better with time.
Bow Fest 2007 began on Sunday. Under the strings of lights draped over the red brick buildings, a Christmas tree and a crib holding Baby Jesus have been displayed on the sidewalk. Day One took off with carol singing by St Francis Xavier Choir, followed by performances by Latin band Orient Express, Francis Lepcha, Shayne Hyrapiet, Chanelle Grosser and Kevin David. Food stalls in the middle of the packed road set up by some of the residents sold snacks.
On December 24, Santa will arrive on a hand-drawn rickshaw with a bag of goodies to meet children on Bow Street, before residents proceed towards St Francis Xaviers Church for midnight mass. The evening includes pony rides, food packets and presents for almost 400 kids below 12 from nearby localities and streetchildren, said Allen Lobo, the secretary of Bow United Organisation, that arranges the fest.
December 25 is time for a Christmas ball on the streets.
The celebrations do not end there. December 30 is a day dedicated to seniors, when those above 60 will have their share of fun playing housie, passing the pillow and musical chairs, before being treated to a spread of tea and snacks. December 31 is time for the Bow Disco Nite at the Parish Hall in St Francis Xaviers Church.