Christmas in India may not be as widespread affair as in some western country but in India, this festival is celebrated by the Christian community across the country with great zeal and gaiety. It is a public Holiday and is also officially celebrated by the President of India at his residence. All the top notch officials of Government of India offer good wishes to the people on the occasion via media. Though the traditional festivity of Christmas to a great extent is confined to the Christian community, the celebration has acquired a secular tinge with time. In several parts of India, the celebrations of Christmas are joined by people of all religions and communities.
Christmas Celebrations in India
The celebrations of Christmas in India also begin months before the arrival of the festival. As the weather in the country at this time is also very pleasant, the festivities and shopping also get a boost. The market in India offers its best offer at this occasion. Apart from the availability of traditional Christmas items for Christmas in India is also marked by traditional Christmas rituals like Christmas carols, cakes, candles and the decoration of Christmas tree. Throughout the country, special programs are organized at various churches throughout the country.
Apart from the beautifully decorated market, several missionary run educational institutions in the country also celebrate the festival with immense joy and fervor. Also, there is a mid year vacation which is also termed as Christmas vacation. The vacations begin shortly before Christmas and end after the New Year celebrations. The celebrations here become grand because they combine with the zeal of the arrival of the New Year.
Generally, on the day of Christmas, people of Christmas fraternity gather in church for worship. Here, they attend Church services and sing carols. There is also the concept of Midnight in India. In fact, it is a very important service and holds great religious significance amongst the Christians of the country. On the night of 24th December, all the Christian families attend the Midnight mass at the local churches. The Churches in India are also decorated with the Poinsettia flowers and candles. Feasting also forms an important part of the Christmas celebrations.
Though the celebration of Christmas can be observed throughout India, the customs for the celebration of Christmas vary a little depending upon the region. For example, in contrast to the Christians in Goa and North India, the Christians living in South India decorate banana or mango trees instead of the traditional pine tree. Some people also decorate their houses with the oil-burning lamps (diyas) on the rooftops of their houses. Though it would be interesting for you to know that only 3% of the total population of India is actually Christian but compared to this fraction, the fanfare of the Christmas celebrations is extremely grand in India.