Dec 3, 2015

Christmas in Colombo

So this is Christmas in Colombo. Those who are part of it, count themselves truly lucky.

So many people think that they need to travel to the west to enjoy that real ‘Christmassy’ feeling. How wrong they are! Over the years, Colombo has gradually developed that wonderful seasonal feeling despite being a predominantly Buddhist country, and today….wow! All one has to do is drive through the streets of Fort or the greater Colombo area to see the beautiful Christmas décor and enjoy that special nip in the air….For us in Sri Lanka, nothing comes close to Christmas in Colombo.

You’ll find the shops and malls laden with wonderful treasures for the season, while the eateries, restaurants and hotels are brightly lit with the smell of Christmas goodies wafting through the air. People love to make their rounds around the main top-notch hotels in Colombo which are gorgeously decorated and full of everything that makes Christmas, Christmas! All the churches around the island are also decorated in preparation for the birth of Christ, with masses being celebrated throughout the season. Nativity scenes, plays and carols are performed by almost all main Catholic schools and are open to the public, just to add something special to the atmosphere.

Walking into the main shopping centers such as Odel, Crescat Boulevard, the Arcade Independence and so on, one will find that all the major radio stations in the island have ventured out of their corporate buildings to set up shop amidst the hustle and bustle of the shoppers so that they can reach their listenership with great festive promotions and holiday cheer. The carols, the gifts and the smiles are everywhere and this is the beginning of the Christmas month in Colombo.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day are arguably the best days of the year for many in Sri Lanka as well. There is so much happening within the city. There are gala Christmas breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners at every restaurant and hotel- they are pricey, but oh, so festive! Especially recommended are the international buffets and à la carte menus at the five-star hotels such as the Hilton, Cinnamon Grand, Cinnamon Lakeside, the Taj Samudra and The Kingsbury. Every themed restaurant in these hotels has something great going on for Christmas. There are also some yummy Christmas desserts to try out, and some of the better known bakeries in Colombo like The Cakery, The Cake Factory and Butter Boutique serve up some tantalizing goodies for the season. And for those celebrating at home, the supermarkets are packed with Christmas cakes, Turkeys, Roasts, wines and the works…..

And this is the surface. It is truly admirable that Sri Lankans don’t forget the reason for the season. Every year, Christmas gives people the opportunity to share with the less fortunate. So many people go out of their way to visit the sick, the lonely, the orphans and the poor with gifts and good wishes. Sri Lankans are truly a warm-hearted people.

So this is Christmas in Colombo. Those who are part of it, count themselves truly lucky.