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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 49| December 26, 2010 |


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A Toast To Winter Joys

Salman Rob
Photos: Yamin Tauseef Jahangir

"Sadly, this Christmas passes away. So, let us give thanks today, as we prepare for the year anew, with faith and hope to see it through." Anonymous

With the winter charm passing by, all which roams around inside the young minds, is how to celebrate Christmas and New Year's, and mark a happy ending to this year. It's a natural instinct around the whole world and that includes us too. Maybe it doesn't snow in Bangladesh, and maybe we don't get to decorate Christmas trees all that much. Nonetheless, Christmas is one of the most celebrated festivals in Bangladesh, not only by the Christian population in the country, but also by people belonging to other religion. To get the actual feeling of Christmas this year, people are already looking forward to places like the Westin and Radisson, which take on the initiatives to prepare the Christmas tree and all other necessities, bringing to life the Christmas spirit.

Plenty of Christmas treats are available for the celebration.

Abrar Razzak, Communication Coordinator, Hotel Westin, says that Christmas, celebration is not only for Christian families, but also for people of every religion. “It is also for friends and families to get together and spend some time together,” he says. On the other hand, he mentions the variety of events taking place at Westin starting from the major buffet representing the Christmas Carol, which will be held at their dining on Level 2, Pan Asian, on December 24 and 25. It will be followed by a children's party on Christmas day where children aged between 5 to 12 years old will enjoy a magic show and other activities like pin the donkey, face painting, dress as you like, karaoke competition, Sketch the Santa contest and also lots of gifts from Santa Claus himself. Besides that, Westin also brought in special "Daily Christmas treats" like pudding, ginger bread houses and much more at their bakery where they're serving till Christmas Eve.

Praying for the solidarity of people and prosperity of the country.

“It used to be a lot more fun when I was younger but it's still fun if you have all your family members come over to help you with the Christmas decorations. The churches are amazingly decorated! So, that's something really nice to watch unless you want to chill out at hotels or celebrate Christmas in the clubs partying," says Maleena Gomez, a student of Holy Cross College. “My family has been decorating the tree with ornaments, lights, stars and many small decors for a very long time. They have always been preserved in a box. So, these things have been used for many years, if you don't count the candies of course! We usually buy the ornaments to decorate from the church stores," she adds. "For Christmas, any kind of cake works, but I'm making a chocolate fudge cake this year. Other than that there are the doughnuts my aunt makes and they absolutely amazing!”

Dominic Probir Gomez, Head Chef of desserts in Radisson gave a review on the Christmas specials they are offering at their bakery for this holiday season. There are cookies, chocolate praline and the very special Vanilla Yule log, a special cake, which actually represents a tree log completely made with vanilla topping representing the snow on it and a Santa made of candy, right on the top. Other than that, he also mentioned his personal favourite desert, the Chocolate Sacher.

Many foreigners celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Dhaka.

If you guys are hoping to get a taste of Christmas around Dhaka city, other than Hotels you can visit all the well-known pastry shops around. They are also selling varieties of Christmas cakes, pastries and other tasty Christmas goodies.

Clyde Brenton Quiah, a student from North South University, says, “We actually start putting on the tree decorations from December 1. There are, however, many who start with the decorations from November or sometimes even just a week before Christmas.” He adds, “Most of the times we celebrate Christmas at our home town, Shonapur, with my grand parents and my cousins. The decorations have been bought abroad. But nowadays, we get to buy very good decors for the tree almost everywhere in Dhaka city. On the eve of Christmas, that is December 24, we go to church at 12 am, called the Holy Spirit Chapel. There we celebrate Christmas. It is fun dining with so many people. Christmas

A glimpse of a five-star hotel kitchen in Dhaka.

treats like fruitcakes and plum cakes are also distributed among my relatives to everyone in the village.” Quiah also talks of the angel that is put on top of the tree. “It signifies the host of angels, pureness, how Jesus was born and how everyone followed the stars to see him.” He also talks about celebrating Christmas in Bangladesh, mostly a Muslim populated country. “Even though it is a Muslim country, we have never had a problem celebrating Christmas, as the government takes excellent initiatives to look after security. The inferiority complex is never there. I do enjoy celebrating Christmas abroad for one thing, the shopping sprees are fun and the culture is a plus point too. However, celebrating Christmas is not all that bad here in Bangladesh, if you are celebrating with friends, families and people from your community."

The Christmas spirit hovers all around us.

"Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past." - Henry Ward Beecher

The words 'New Year celebrations!' reminds people, especially the younger ones, of nightlong parties and a few hours of relaxation and going crazy! But is that all? It is also a day when people get the opportunity to star over and let go of their past confusion and miseries. It is a day when everyone has lists of resolutions to follow through out the year. It is a day, when people look forward to the beginning, of life, itself.

Rajibul Islam Rajib, owner of Argeela Shisha Lounge, says, "I give my everything to Argeela and I would want nothing better than to have a wonderful start with my lounge. Other than that, I think December 31st is not only about going out to parties or hanging out. The saying is 'Happy New Year' and from my personal point of view I think making another person happy makes you happier. If we could do something for charity and donate to the poor, besides partying, it would bring a big smile on everyone's faces. On a different note Rajib talks about the change in culture. "Our culture is gradually growing and getting used to the western world. I am guessing more students who come from abroad for vacations and other young people are going to come out for the New Years' Eve." Apart from that, a great piece of news for the shisha lovers as Rajib informs, is that all the customers for the New Years Eve will get a special discount for shisha. So, if you have nothing to do just grab some friends and head out to Argeela.

Razeen Abhi Mustafiz, Assistant Public Relation Manager, tells us about the events taking place in the shisha lovers as Rajib informs, is that all the customers for the New Years Eve will get a special discount for shisha. So, if you have nothing to do just grab some friends and head out to Argeela.

Razeen Abhi Mustafiz, Assistant Public Relation Manager, tells us about the events taking place in Radisson, "All our halls and party areas have been booked for the December 31st party. The major party is taking place at the grand ballroom along with other parties, which are going to take place at the terrace, tennis court and Uthshob. Besides that Radisson is also bringing in bands like Straight Wise (a Philippine band), Hyper drive and Regatta, also two international bands for the night. We will also have Jun, the pianist, who is going to play in between the bands." Mustafiz also talks about the in-house dinners, which are going to take place at their Water Garden Brasserie serving international buffet. Sublime will be serving 'A la carte' meaning 'according to the menu' and Spice and Rice will be serving sub continental cuisine. Mustafiz also says, "We are going to have one of the best countdowns around and we plan on giving a top notch service to our customers."

Dj parties – one of the major attractions of a New Year’s Eve party. photo courtesy: Dj Ratul

Parties are also taking place at Westin as they are throwing a gala dinner on Level 2, Seasonal Taste, with the in-house band performing, and Level 23, Prego, which consists of five courses-set dinner with the band 'Freeway' performing. Also a party is being held at Splash with a barbeque buffet dinner and Dj Rajib in charge of the music. The major party of the night will take place at the Grand Ball Room which will present something totally new that has never been done in Bangladesh before, A Video Jockey with four guest dancers from the United Kingdom, will be dancing on a special fantasy stage specially made for their performance. Dj Saad Ayub will also be playing and the whole genre of music for the night will be based on just trance. Along with all this, Max Mystel, a magician will also have a magic show for the crowd. According to the management, they think the people are paying a lot to come to these parties and they should get something worthwhile in return.

Trendy Christmas decorations are found everywhere in Dhaka city today.

Farihah Kabir, a university applicant tells us about how she's planning on spending New Years Eve. "I usually end up arranging a get together with friends and family or end up going to someone else's party. For some people, New Year's Eve is all about partying, to some it is about spending time with family, to some it is about spending time all alone and to some it is about starting the new year with their loved ones." Kabir also says that she is looking forward to a lot in the upcoming year. “I am looking forward to getting into a good university, a simple mixture of love, happiness, money, success and the cricket world cup!"

Let us all hope for a great New Years' Eve, safe yet filled with fun, which will always be remembered as one of the best nights ever.



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