Sundar Shadi Holiday Display returning to El Cerrito hillside

Sundar Shadi Holiday Display returning to El Cerrito hillside

By Kathy Chouteau

A beloved holiday display will mark its return to an El Cerrito hillside this Sunday following a pandemic pause in 2020.

The Sundar Shadi Holiday Display, an expansive seasonal display that volunteers touch up and set up this time of year, will return to its place upon the hill at Moeser Ln. and Sea View Dr. in El Cerrito on Sun., Dec. 12 through Sun., Dec. 26.

This year’s display will include “a limited collection of items from the Shadi Holiday Display” according to organizers on its Facebook page, who said that they are hopeful that they can “bring the full display back next year.”

The Holiday Display was originally handcrafted by the late Sundar Shadi (pronounced shaw-dee) in 1949 out of upcycled items and paper mache; it features an angel, Three Wise Men, camels, a multitude of sheep and other animals, buildings and a large star spread out across the hillside overlooking the bay. Check out drone footage of the Holiday Display here.

A 2005 article in The Mirror newsletter published by the Richmond Museum Association states that Mr. Shadi was Hindu, not Christian, and created the display as a holiday scene representative of the viewpoints of many religions.

Learn more about the Sundar Shadi Holiday Display here. Donations are needed to help with the upkeep of the display, as are volunteers, who help maintain and set it up. To donate click here; to volunteer, call 510-685-8184.