Sweet Trophies, Special Pujas and Argentina-Brazil Colours: FIFA Fever Grips Kolkata
From World Cup themed haircuts, food items named after Brazilian and Argentinian players, giant screens at restaurants, world cup trophy shaped kites and sweets – the city has it all to give people the feel of a mini Russia in Bengal.
Fans were seen performing Dhunuchi (traditional Bengali dance during Durga Puja) dance with football on earthen pot. (News18)
Kolkata: The FIFA World Cup, one of the biggest sporting carnivals in the world, kick starts on Thursday and Kolkata, the football capital of India, is all geared up to cheer for its favourite teams.
Kolkatans have put up flags, banners and large cut out of their favourite players from Brazil and Argentina, everywhere in and around the city. While some localities have been painted in the canary yellow colours of Brazil, some are adorned in the sky blue and white of Argentina.
FIFA World Cup themed cakes, made out of Bengali 'sandesh' (sweets) at a famous sweet shop.
As Russia is hosting the event, Assistant Director of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Irina Malysheva, is going to cheer for her home country at Café Inside.
“I along with my friends will be cheering for my country Russia. I am expecting a thrilling match. We are preparing flags, banners, and tattoos to get the feeling of Football World Cup. I am sure my country will win today,” she told News18.
She said: “Kolkata is the most football crazy place in India. FIFA U-17 cup was held here and you could see the number of fans who cheered up for their teams. The football craze took to the streets, when artists decorated most of the city roads with Rangoli."
Restaurants in the city also have some surprises in store for customers. The President of Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), Sudesh Poddar said they are eagerly waiting for the matches.
"We will have special menus based on football and there will be special offers on drinks during Brazil and Argentina matches in some of the reputed restaurants in the city. Giants screens will also be put up,” Poddar added.
The sweet shops are also geared up for the big event. Owner of Hindustan Sweets, one of the most popular sweet shops in Kolkata, RK Paul said, “Today is the opening ceremony. In coming few days, we will offer range of small ‘sweet statues’ made of chhena of famous players from all the countries. More focus will be on the players of Brazil and Argentina as Kolkata is always divided between these two teams.”
Kolkata-based elderly couple Pannalal (85) and Chaitali Chatterjee (76) decided to go a step further and leave for Russia to attend the matches. He got the first taste of world cup football in 1982 when he watched the Spain World Cup on Television.
Speaking to News18 at his Kidderpore residence, Pannalal said: “I am very excited to watch the matches in Russia. We are leaving on Friday and right now, we are very busy in arranging stuff. My plan is to return on June 28 but if I get match tickets for more matches, I will stay longer.”
At Tala Park Prottay Club, the members organised a special puja for their favourite players. They put up large banners and posters all over the streets. A section of women in traditional Bengali saree were seen performing Dhunuchi (traditional Bengali dance during Durga Puja) dance with football on earthen pot.
Priests perform special rituals along with a fan for FIFA World Cup (News18)
Anjan Basu, Secretary of the Club said, “This whole one month we will sleep, eat and breathe football. All the matches will be thrilling but Brazil and Argentina matches will be special. During final match day we will plan something bigger, which I am not revealing now.”
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