Vrindavan: After participating in festivals like Holi, Dussehra and Diwali, the widows of Vrindavan would be celebrating Christmas at the century-old Meerasahabhagini Ashram as the year comes to an end.
Hundreds of widows will be celebrating Christmas from today with a series of events organised including dancing around a decorated Christmas tree as part of the festivities.
The widows, donning Santa Claus caps, have also been making candles and Santa Claus outfits for themselves.
80-year-old Manu Ghosh decorated the Christmas tree and is excited as a child for December 25 to arrive.
"I saw children celebrating this festival, so it`s great experience to observe this time with many old age widows," 72-year-old Anjana Goswami, another widow, said.
In a departure from tradition, the widows have participated in a number of festivals this year as Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak took several initiatives to bring back cheer to hundreds of widows staying in the ashrams of Vrindavan.
Pathak said he has tried his best to organise events that broke the age-old tradition that a widow must lead a life of grief, misery and seclusion.
The candles prepared by the widows are part of Sulabh`s efforts to impart them with vocational training to earn their livelihoods, he said.
Arrangements have also been made to impart education to the widows in three languages - Hindi, Bengali and English and teachers have been appointed for the purpose, Pathak said.