Its early Christmas for Singapore. They do all festive events on a grand scale here. Christmas season starts a month before the actual dates, bringing in an air of cheer all around. I have spent many Christmas's in different parts of the World but I must say Singapore goes overboard in decorations like no place else. All over this Country, during this entire month, one can find Christmas trees inside every mall, outside every mall, in other public areas and roads such as Orchard Road and coupled with fabulous lighting everywhere.
(Orchard Road above and below)
They call it Christmas in the tropics. It never gets cold enough here to feel a seasonal change into winter. It just gets rainier. That's not as depressing as, say raining and snow right through the long winter months in Europe and North America. Been there, done that.
(An Elf hanging around-should he not be helping Santa?)
This is my 3rd X Mas in Singapore and every year I have observed changes. Nothing is repeated in Singapore, there is always something new, some innovation, some new idea to bring people out on the streets and enjoy the sights. X Mas brings in hoards of tourists as well because the atmosphere is so cheerful, colorful and bright. If you are looking for retail therapy, you got to be in Singapore during this time!
(X Mas tree outside Paragon Singapore)
I grew up in Mysore and had a few Christian friends around. I won't go too much into the various denominations of the religion, but suffice to say I had good experiences with all of them. My childhood memories, what little I have left in my head, reminds me of the X mas day mass I used to go in that little neighborhood church, the choir singing in Kannada and English and the subsequent lunch. Of course one cannot forget the rum and raisin cakes (yup we got to eat that as kids!). My family was quite liberal in terms of everything, including participating in various religious activities of other religions as well. I am grateful for that upbringing.
(Outside Ion Orchard, Singapore)
I remember attending X Mas midnight mass in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, with friends of mine and the atmosphere that was so cheerful and charged. I could not sing the songs, they were mostly in Malayalam. Unlike Mysore, it never got cold or even cool in Trivandrum (Now Thiruvananthapuram). I remember my first white X Mas. I was attending X mas day prayers with friends in New Jersey 20 years ago and we had early snow, large amounts of it. That lent a completely different atmosphere to the whole event. It felt like real X Mas for the first time in my life, the cold, the white blanket on the ground and on tree branches, of snow on top of cars, it was truly magical. Maybe my mind always had this image of X Mas and snow, from reading articles and from comics. I always wished, as a child, to see a "real" X Mas. In New Jersey two decades ago, I finally saw that during X Mas. I had seen snow before but not on X Mas eve or X Mas day.
(X Mas tree inside a Mall on Orchard)
I had a few more X Mas in the tropics, couple of times in Florida where it was still shorts and T Shirt weather and once in the Bahamas. The Bahamas visit was a coincidence but it was X Mas time and everything else being shut down, I wandered around till I found this nice church. It did not have many people for mass but it had a nice air about it. The preacher noticed me and at the end of the service, he chatted up with me asking about where I was from and so on. He had that sing-song Caribbean accent. It was all so pleasant.
A few other places where we had a good time during Christmas was in the Maldives, although not permitted there publicly, I had enough friends who could organize a mean party. What was missing was Church services. Where I had a lot of fun during Christmas, without missing Church services and enjoying the atmosphere of Christmas was in Goa, a few years ago. I am so looking forward to doing that again once I start living there.
(From "Inside" an X Mas tree-they had hung crystal balls inside the skeleton)
Back to Singapore now. I took these pictures from my fogged up phone and they are not the greatest but hopefully they will show some aspects of how Singapore is all decked up for X Mas. I know many people lament that Christmas time has become very commercialized and all that. That won't stop me from enjoying the season. That's the World today, lets just make the best of it, I do, the season makes me feel good as I am sure it does others. I will be blogging before the end of the year, so I'll hold off on wishing everyone right now. Have a great December all!
More pictures of Orchard Road, evening time: