Christmas is a time to experience love and brotherhood, service and peace and dialogue and harmony, Kolkata’s archbishop Reverend Thomas D’Souza said at the inauguration of the Kolkata Christmas Festival at Allen Park on Wednesday.
The festival is back in Park Street this year in almost its old form with music, fun and food after two long years.
In his address, the archbishop said that the message of Christmas was of love and peace.
“The world needs peace today amidst war, conflicts, tensions, injustices and discrimination. It is possible to resolve all conflicts only through dialogue and not by violence. Christmas is a time to experience love and brotherhood, service and peace, dialogue and harmony.”
The 12th edition of the festival was inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee by lighting up the Christmas tree outside the park.
In addition, this year, the Bow Barracks was also lit up remotely from Allen Park.
The archbishop urged the audience to be the messengers of peace.
“Messengers of peace wherever we are — in our families, in our workplaces, — doing good to all people, especially the poor. We may be able to spread this message of Christmas: love, joy and peace.”
Park Street, possibly the city’s most frequented stretch this time of the year, will host the fest till December 30.
Almost every day, with the exception of December 24 and 25, there will be programmes at Allen Park.
Food stalls are back.
There are as many as 26 this year, right from the Free School Street-Park Street crossing up to the Camac Street-Park Street crossing.
Reverend Paritosh Canning, bishop of the Kolkata diocese of the Church of North India, blessed the crib at Allen Park on Wednesday.
“Christmas means a spirit of love. A time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness,” said Michael Shane Calvert, who hosted the programme and is one of the members of the organising committee.
“Christmas is not just a day or an event we observe...it is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives,” he said.
Because of the pandemic, the festival was much subdued in the past two years.
Christmas in Kolkata brings together people from all walks of life. “We are happy that the festival is back in almost its old form,” Calvert said.