Xmas gift from Fijians


Kalimpong, Dec. 21: The carol festival ended here tonight with a dance performance by a three-member Fijian troupe.

The all-men team comprising Mark Barvear, Letani Quranivalu and Jerry Bosevanua danced with gusto, at times even threatening to bring down the temporary stage set up on Main Road. Through their dances, they sought to spread the message of Christ. Attired in a mix of traditional Fijian and modern clothes comprising lavalava (a cloth worn like a kilt or skirt) and black T-shirts with leaves tied around the wrists, the dancers won the hearts of the evening crowd.

“We would have danced bare bodied, but for the biting cold and the fact that both my mates are suffering from cold,” Barvear said. All the four dances were in “praise of the Lord”.

“While Mebaia roughly means God has a place in our lives even before we are born, Neibalu means the battle is not yours, but belongs to God,” explained Barvear. The other two dances were titled Israel and Kikaha.

In fact, the festival organised by the Christian community under the banner of Kalimpong Carol Festival Committee began on Monday and drew a good response on all four days. The Fijians, too, appeared happy. “We love the Indians. In fact, 40 per cent of the population back home is of Indian origin. Having performed in Pune, Delhi, Calcutta and now Kalimpong, I can tell you we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” said Barvear. Asked about the relationship between the native Fijians and those of Indian origin, Barvear said things were much better now than it was earlier.

Into its fifth year, the carol festival’s popularity has been growing steadily. “To have this kind of festival in the middle of a long and dreary winter is wonderful. It creates the right mood leading up to Christmas and New Year,” said Ujwal Rai, a resident.

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