Christmas in India

Christmas in India is a colorful festival, likewise most festivals. It is noted for its brightness, as local stores, markets and malls have multi-colored twinkling fairy lights, paper streamers and flowers. Churches are decorated using marvellous light shows and look magnificent in the night. Christmas is a small festival, compared to other festivals in India, due to the small number of Christian people. However, it is celebrated across the whole country.

Here is how do they celebrate Christmas in India:

 

One of the most important traditions for catholic Christians is midnight mass. Families walk to the mass, followed by a massive feast delicacies and exchanging presents. Decorating a banana or mango tree, instead of having traditional Christmas tree, is another tradition of Christmas in India. People sometimes use mango leaves to decorate their homes.

 

The celebration traditions of Christmas in India varies. In Southern India, Christians put small oil burning clay lamps on their roofs to imply that Jesus is the light of the world. In north-west India, Christians of the Bhil folk go out every night for a week at Christmas to sing their own carols. They also go to surrounding villages singing and telling people the Christmas story. Moreover, in South West India, in the state of Kerala, 22% of the population are Christians. Traditional catholics fast from the 1st to 24th of December, until the midnight service. Every house around India will be decorated with a Christmas star. Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers Christmas presents to children from a horse and cart.

The traditions of Christmas celebration differs from one region to another in India. Goa is one of the places that loves to celebrate Christmas. Goa has lots of western traditions, due to its connection with Portugal. People in Goa like to go singing carols around their neighbors for a week before christmas. A Christmas tree is popular as well as a traditional rich fruit cake. People eat lots of local sweets during Christmas such as neureos, a small pastries stuffed with dry fruit and coconut; dodol, a sweet like toffee that has coconut and cashews. On Christmas Eve, people hang out star-shaped paper lanterns. The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve; it is a western meal with roast turkey or chicken. After the meal, Christians head to church for a midnight mass service. Following the service, the church bells ring, announcing that Christmas Day has arrived.

Furthermore, Kolkata is famous for its Christmas celebrations. In Kolkata, Park Street is illuminated with strings of lights and other decorations. The Kolkata Christmas Festival adds to the magnificent celebration. The festival dominates Park Street with food, Christmas carols and choirs. Mumbai celebrates Christmas in a traditional way. Churches are found all over the city, although the western suburb of Bandra is mainly Catholic. Mumbai churches with midnight mass are the most known among other churches. Likewise, Bandra’s Hill Road wears a festive look full of Christmas decorations. Christians in Mumbai use many traditions from Goa such as the star lanterns and manger scenes. The most popular midnight mass in Delhi takes place at Sacred Heart Cathedral at Connaught Place. During Christmas and the week leading up to it, the whole area buzzes with decorations, lights, food stalls and street vendors.

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