|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 70, Tuesday, December 19, 2006|
A surprisingly pleasant trip to Dhaka Zoo
‘Joy to the world the Lord is come
Our streets are not all lit with Christmas lights nor we do not have mistletoe hanging from every curve or every archway. Come December we do not travel some thousand miles to be with our loved ones and neither do we huddle around crackling fireplaces to open our presents. In this our Christian-minority country, the celebrations for Christmas are anything but omnipresent. Some hearts however, do prepare his room and for them these three lines of mention…
We start off with the celebrations and parties that have been arranged across the city and first in mention are the arrangements of Dhaka Sheraton. Immediately upon entering the atrium lobby, stands one of the tallest Christmas trees in Dhaka complete with trimmings and presents around the bottom. The rest of the reception area is adorned with strings of glowing lights, which line the pillars, walls, help desks and even the pot plants and the same lights have been used throughout the hotel giving off a very warm, Christmas feel. Most decor-enhancing perhaps is the ginger bread house with whipped cream for snow, standing proud and bold on one end of the circular atrium.
With the aesthetic pleasures taken care of, we move on to what is more important: the parties arranged. The festive spirit at Sheraton commenced at the beginning of this month and on offer are Christmas carols and Santa Claus who will be located at different parts of the hotel everyday. All of Sheraton's Christmas buffets are arranged at the Bithika Restaurant, the line-up of which is dinner on Christmas Eve and both lunch and dinner on December 25. Inspired by the universal appeal of Christmas, this year Sheraton is going to go with a slightly different theme of catering for all tastes and preferences. Apart from the conventional Christmas menu, they are going to offer a regional buffet specialising in delicacies from different parts of the world. However, the highlight of the show, so far as children are concerned, will be the Children's Party arranged on Christmas. For a 500 taka ticket (which will be available at the hotel lobby from December 21), the revelry will include a puppet show, a magic show, Christmas carols and of course, Santa himself. The fun-filled event will run from 10am-2.30pm during which scrumptious snacks will be served and there will also be a raffle draw with return air tickets to London by Gulf Air as first prize.
The Radisson Winter Garden Hotel also follows similar celebration patterns this Christmas. With a 20 foot tree in the lobby, Christmas lights and ginger bread houses throughout their premises, that same Christmas warmth is spread all round the hotel. Radisson offers fortnight-long festivities planned at different venues of the hotel including a special Christmas menu at Sublime until December 24 and exclusive Christmas Day menus at Sublime and the Water garden Brasserie. Christmas goodies will also be available at the Chit Chat Deli Café all through the month. Notably also, is the international band from South East Asia that has been brought to play carols at the hotel from 5-7.45pm as of December 17. Private Christmas lunch parties can be arranged at Sublime with reservations and a minimum of guest list of 12 required.
Next up we look into the less glamorous but equally enjoyable private celebrations that will be observed throughout the city. Christmas colliding with winter in Dhaka, there is a wide range of options at hand, from bar-b-queues to dinners to dance parties to picnics. In conversation with Lamiya Jabbar, she mentions how Christmas for her is a quiet time to enjoy with those closest to her and it is bearing this in mind that she has arranged a small and compact dance party on Christmas Eve, all cheerful with a dress code of red. Following an opposite thought process is Shehnila, who prefers to arrange a large outdoor party for all her friends and family with food, music and dancing to see the bash throughout the night.
No Christmas party, whatever genre, is complete without the Christmas decorations that are all so necessary in upholding the Christmas spirit. One of the best places to visit in this regard is Folk International located at House #19, Road 108, Gulshan. The quiet shop tucked into the street immediately sets customers in the festive mood with the life-size image of Santa on the door and the soothing carols playing in the background.
Folk International goes the full way in providing Christmas decorations with a wide array of trimmings to choose from. On a large door are displayed wreaths with green and red flowers, acorns and bells, which cost about Tk135. The colour scheme of red and green is also repeated in the table runners with mirror-work and embroidery that range between Tk340 and Tk1080. In the centre of the shop stands a small but bright Christmas tree with tree decorations lying in boxes at its foot. Their range of colourful stars, angels and bells are all very reasonably priced at Tk20 and the blue and green stockings to put up for Santa ask for another well-affordable amount if Tk70. Summing up their range of Christmas goodies is one whole wall of Christmas cards priced at varying levels between Tk30-65.
Aarong is another outlet, although offering less variety, that can be turned to for Christmas decorations. With similar patterns of layout, Gulshan Aarong also has a small tree in the centre of the shop with boxes full of trimming circling the bottom. On offer here are jute butterflies, birds and bells and different designs of mirrors all collectively priced under 50 taka. Save these two, there are of course, the tried and trusted branches of Archies and Hallmark for the occasional Christmas tidbit.
Since some attention to food must undoubtedly be paid, stop by any of the confectionaries to make full use of their special Christmas goodies and go all out this Christmas with your celebrations and decorations, whatever faith you may belong to.
By Subhi Shama Reehu
On the cover
Carols, presents, Santa and his reindeer…don't we just love Christmas? Check out our specials on this page and the next
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