Lucknow: With just about a week left for Christmas, the scare of Covid’s Omicron variant has started casting a shadow on celebrations.
Various churches have asked people to attend the Christmas mass virtually, particularly children and senior citizens.
They are also discouraging people from joining in pre-Christmas celebrations.
“In the past, we used to take part in putting up Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree but the parish has asked us not to come this year because of the Omicron scare. The decorations will be done by the church staff this year. We are sorely missing the festivities,” said Rajiv Winston, a young student.
The Christmas platter is also getting smaller due to the pandemic.
The city’s 1,200-odd bakeries, known for their expertise in baking plum cakes for Christmas, are witnessing less business this year.
“The pandemic was there last year too but after the second wave which was worse, people are now wary of large-scale celebrations. The orders for cakes are much less compared to previous years. We were expecting greater rush but it has not happened,” said Abdul Rashid, a well-known baker in the state capital.
According to Rashid, families that earlier got over 100 cakes baked during Christmas have cut down their orders to 20 to 30 cakes.
“They say that they will not send out cakes as gifts because people are wary of accepting eatables from outside,” he said.
Most of the bakeries are not stocking up on traditional cookies and other items that are a part of traditional Christmas goodies, because they are unsure of demand.
Mohammad Sheikh Yahya of Durham Bakery that was set up in 1916 and still bake in the wooden furnace, said: “The pandemic has taken away from Christmas celebration. We start preparing months ahead of the festival but we are not sure about government protocols that are often announced at the last minute. We are celebrating but with caution.”
Dorothy Singh, a homemaker, said that this Christmas was more about caution than about celebrations.
“We are still undecided about the number of people we can invite for the Christmas lunch. The Covid cases are on the rise and there is the variant scare. How can one celebrate in such a situation? We have to take care of children and elderly persons in the house. We can only pray that things return to normal by next year so that we can celebrate with a vengeance,” she said.