Our first Christmas celebration away from family was quite memorable having temperatures in the 90s and being in a foreign land that is primarily Hindu. We found the further south in India the more common Christianity. In Hyderabad, where we spent Christmas, is mostly Hindu and Muslim. We were surprised to find street vendors selling white rubber Santa Claus masks with a full on white beard. We still regret not buying one.
We started our Christmas Eve exploring the Qutb Shahi Tombs. These tombs were erected in memory of the kings of Golconda. There are more than 20 tombs on these grounds dating back to 1518 – 1687 A.D. After a long day in the sun, we grabbed lunch at Paradise, where I had the most amazing biryani I have ever had in my life! I became addicted to the fresh lime soda, which can be ordered sweet, salty or salty and sweet. My favorite was the salty sweet combo.
Later Christmas day Anand’s friend invited us to attend the Christmas celebration he was hosting for the children at a local orphanage. Mike was asked to dress and play the part of Santa Claus. Of course he said yes following in his father’s footsteps who was Santa Claus at the Chandler Mall in Arizona for 3 years. The celebration started with the children decorating a tree with lights and ornaments.
Next we sang the classic Christmas carols like Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. I surprised myself with the amount of words I remembered especially when 50 some kids are staring at you singing. There was also this little boy who sang the group his Christmas song which melted my heart. Mike helped hand out the gifts Anand’s friends had wrapped while I passed out candy we brought from the US. It was amazing to be apart of their Christmas experience.