Bhubaneswar: Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christmas 2020 was different.
The red and white Santa Claus turned green on Christmas Day here as he joined hands with Dedi Loku (Tree Man in the Kui language) to give people gifts in the form of trees. The reindeer-pulled sledge was replaced by a bullock cart, which carried the saplings.
The bullock cart, along with with Santa and Dedi Loku moved from Bakul Library in Satyanagar behind the Catholic Church to Janpath to shouts of ‘Gacha Neba Gacha, Santa Deuchi Gacha’ by 30 college students, all volunteers of Bakul Foundation.
An initiative of Bakul Foundation’s My Tree Campaign, Tree for Free aims to create an emotional connect between individuals and trees by promoting individual ownership of trees.
The Bakul volunteers mobilized and encouraged curious onlookers to plant trees and take saplings from them. About 300 medicinal plants and trees like bakul, jamun, ashoka, jackfruit (panasa) and gulmohar (krushnachuda) were distributed.
“We give gifts to show that we care for the other person, and there cannot be a better way to show we care during this pandemic than by gifting a plant”, said Bakul Foundation Sujit Mahapatra.