Tuesday, December 21, 2010


   Christmas is a festival of family traditions, celebrations, greetings and gifts, as it is world wide.  This is very much in tune with the sentiments of the Indian people, who love traditions and celebrations.  An occasion to get together, pray, feast, and enjoy each other's company, exchange notes with relatives and friends, and be blessed by the elders-these are all a part of any Indian's festival, whether urban or rural, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist or Christian.  Moreover, Indians have an affinity for Mother Mary and the infant Jesus, and they love to celebrate Jesus' birthday with the same fervor as they celebrate Lord Krishna's birthday on Janmashtami.  In most of the major cities in India, there is no disparity between a Christian and a non-Christian during Christmas.  Anyone and everyone will attend midnight mass in the local church.  They go to the House of God to pray and for blessings, which probably has more to do with spirituality than religion.
   The churches all over India are decorated vibrantly with poinsettias and other local flowers; and the church interiors come alive with candle light.  The atmosphere becomes magical and mystical, just the right tone for Christmas.  The congregation listens to the service and the songs in silence.  After the mass (which is often conducted in both the local language and English) is over, they line up in all somberness for the host from the mass priest.  Of course, the non-Christians are aware of their limitations in this procedure and respect the rule.


   Some parts of India have a concentration of Christian populations,  like in Goe (Western India), in the Norhteastern states of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Naglaland and some parts of Assam (Shillong).  Then there are orthodox Christians in the state of Keralain South India, who celebrate Christmas in a strictly religious manner.  The Christians in all these various states have imbibed local Indian customs and traditions into their celebrations, which is evident in the food, drink and merriment.  Despite the different states, languages and customs, the true spirit of Christmas-which is a celebration of humanity, charity, and purity-is the common bond between them all.
   In rural South India, the people light little clay lamps inside and outside their houses, celebrating the advent of the Holy Child.  Since fir trees are a scarcity, they decorate mango and banana trees, which look exactly like true Christmas trees!  Friends and families get together after church and enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner, comprising of the local specialties.

  The Indian cities are more lit up with artificial lighting, more happening in the form of celebrations and parties.  Here, Christmas is more cosmopolitan in nature and the celebrations can sometimes continue from Christmas Eve until the early hours of Christmas day!  People love parties and with the weather being conductive for partying, there is no stopping them.  Most parts of India are going through winter in December, schools are closed and most companies give a Christmas holiday off.  It becomes truly a holiday festival.  Most houses have an artificial Christmas tree decorated with all the trappings and some create the "nativity scene", as a central part of the decorations.  The markets are flooded with the trees and Santa dolls, the whistles, the candy sticks and silver balls and bells.  Nothing is missing except for the snow, which is replaced with lots of cotton wool!

   There are still lots of people, old and young alike, in India who secretly believe in Santa Claus as the harbinger of good times and cheer.  The choir singers singing the Christmas carols, as they go from one street to another before Christmas tolls the bell for goodness!


  1. In India, more people are added every year in celebrating
    Christmas from all religious backgrounds.
    JESUS CHRIST was born to the world with the
    message or peace-love-joy which is offered to
    all human beings of all religions and even non-
    religious people. Even without knowing much
    about the personality of the living JESUS, at the
    time of Christmas celebrations, everybody is
    feeling some indirect joy and peace of life,
    because HE IS LIVING.

  2. India is one of the fastest growing countries as far as get more and more of them into the Christian faith. That's a very good thing. There's lots of room in Gods house for anyone that wants to come to him.

  3. Nice post!! Its that time of the year again when everybody is in festive mood and is gearing up to welcome Santa with full fervour. Check out famous Christmas parties in India.