Christmas The Anglo Indian Way
Indians, particularly the Anglo-Indians, celebrate Christmas in a big way back home in India, with festivities running on for days on end. Midnight Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral in Calcutta is quite an institution, drawing people from every religious community across the city. We caught up with a couple of Indians and Anglo-Indians here in Singapore, who shared their fondest memories of this season with us. But before we delve into that, just who are the Anglo-Indians?
Back in colonial times, the term Anglo-Indian was used to refer to people who were of British descent but born and raised in India – usually because their parents were serving in the colonial administration or armed forces. Later, however, it started to include people of mixed Indian and British ancestry, as well as the Indo-Portuguese, Indo-French and Indo-Dutch. While the Anglo-Indians formed a signiﬁcant
proportion of the minority community in India before independence, most live overseas today, having emigrated to the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the US.
So what does being Anglo-Indian mean to modern-day Anglo-Indians, how do they celebrate Christmas now, what do they remember about Christmas back home and what are some of their favourite dishes? We spoke to Cheryl Mukerji, Owner of The Gravy Train, a catering business that specialises in Anglo-Indian cuisine; Karen Raj, Director of Homelyraj Pte Ltd, which runs the Raj Group of Restaurants; and Prasenjit Basu, Managing Director and Chief Economist for Asia (excluding Japan) at Daiwa Capital Markets.
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