TURA, Dec 23: Although a little late, Garo Hills over the past few days has finally begun to welcome the spirit of Christmas with various sites in the region being lit up to herald the birth of Jesus Christ.
Unlike other years, the celebrations were slow to take off mainly due to a stagnant economy as well as the lack of money for employees of both state and Council government. The ban on coal mining, with little or no transport taking place in the state, has finally hit the people of the region just before the biggest festival of a majority of the state’s populace.
Markets all around the Garo Hills region saw unprecedented slowdown, something that has literally not been seen prior to Christmas. The situation had been grimmer in Williamnagar where the markets had to be shut down over extortion demands made by some miscreants and only opened after assurances of security.
“We have never seen this sort of Christmas ever before. There was hardly anyone shopping for Christmas just until about a week ago. Earlier the shopping and preparations would begin well over a month before Christmas. Let’s hope the coming years get better than this,” said a shop owner in Tura.
Many prominent places, which in previous years saw extensive decorations and lighting, wore a bland look in what can only be stated as a move to save on bills. Most of these places still remain without lighting – showing how bad the state’s reserves are at.
However, on a brighter note, the festival of sharing cheer will also see many come out in huge numbers to share gifts with those that greatly require them.
“Christmas is all about spreading cheer and we will be making efforts to share the same cheer with all that we can,” said one SR Sangma from Phulbari.
Over the next two days, the region will see special programs, including midnight prayer services, community feasts as well as concerts across the region to herald the coming of Jesus Christ and spread the cheer.
Further, songs and dances of devotion through ‘Song Krittan’ will also continue to echo across the towns and villages across Garo Hills.