DatesStart Date: 25-12-2023 End Date: 25-12-2023
LocationAll over India
Christmas is one of the biggest festivals of the world, the holiday season is celebrated grandly in the west to worship the day Jesus Christ was born. India being a secular nation, is a home to all religions and Christianity is a huge part of this diverse cultured nation for it is the third most followed religion in India. Many Catholics and Non-Catholics celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm all throughout India. The secularist people of India, all look forward to the 25th of December every year and wait for the arrival of Santa Claus who brings bunch of gifts. The festival is celebrated by Indians in their own beautiful ways and the traditions change in every region of the country. There are Christmas masses, some in the morning, some in the night. The festival is vastly celebrated in the Southern and Northeastern parts of the country.
Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December every year for it is the day Jesus Christ was born. The festival is celebrated with thousands of people in their own way. Getting a Christmas tree, decorating it, hanging stockings by the fireplace and making Christmas snacks are some of the few traditions people follow during the holy week of Christmas. The way Christmas is celebrated over the country is very similar to the western way although every region of India adds its own flavor to the festival celebrations and over the years the customs have also modernized with the new generation taking over. Christmas came to India with Christianity and it dwelled and developed more and more with every year that passed by.
Christianity came to India along with Thomas the Apostle who introduced the religion to the people on the Malabar Coast, which is in the current day Kerala, in the 52 AD. From there on began the spread of Christianity in India and the majority of the Christians dwell in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, etc. The spread of Christianity increased after the Portuguese came to India in the 16th century and after that with the British invasion of India, the religion spread more and more. Along with the spread of religion, grew the celebration of the festival of Christmas. The Indians adapted the festival and Indianized it by making it more about food and community.
Christmas holds a great cultural significance for it is celebrated uniquely in every state of India and this not only adds to the culture of the Christians in India but also greatly affects the non-Christian population. In a country like India, where there is a national holiday observed every other month because of the numerous multi-religious festivals, Christians get the holidays of Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. Christmas is believed to be the biggest festival of the Christians. This festival is when the Christian families come together and celebrate the birth of the savior Jesus Christ. Goa is known to be the best place to be in India on the days of Christmas, the Goan families start preparations since the beginning of November so do many families in Kerala, who start making their special rum cake right from the beginning of November. The festival is the connection between the Christians and the non-Christians of India, and it is a sight to see how wonderfully they celebrate the festival together.
The festivities are common and yet different for all sects of Christianity and in a diverse nation like India the traditions and festival customs are constantly changing. All Christians attend the Christmas mass or have Christmas services held in their colonies. The midnight mass is of great significance to the Roman Catholics. The celebrate the Christmas Eve by singing carols and worshiping the Lord. The children form choirs and visit households and bless their house by singing carols. In the South of India, especially in the state of Kerala, many people observe a fast from the beginning of December to the Christmas day. The main festivities of Christmas are decorating the house with a Christmas tree, many people get whichever tree is available in the neighborhood to their houses and decorate them. Many people make sweets and snacks for Christmas with the Christmas cake being a constant tradition everywhere, some people also make the famous ghujias for Christmas, and many people make rose cookies which are called by various names throughout the country. Another tradition is gifting gifts to family and friends. Kids especially wait for the Santa Claus while many parents dress up as Santa Claus for their children. In the northeast, since there are many Christians the festive spirit is felt by one and the snow adds to the beauty of the festival. While the south celebrates the festival with utmost dedication and joy, the Mallu-Christians know how to celebrate this one big festival with family and warmth in their hearts.
If you want to experience Christmas in true spirit in India, you must visit Kerala. You will find churches every 2 kilometers and the place is filled with welcoming people. You can find multiple hotels as well as hostels to live in. Hostels will allow you to meet people from different cultures and give you a chance to increase your social circles. Even the Northeastern states of India have their own unique celebration of the festival, with Kolkata having its Park street light up for the Christmas week. It is best if you visit places which have a majority of Christian population for truly enjoying Christmas in India.
The party begins from Christmas, especially in big cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The party ends after New year’s eve. If you are visiting India for Christmas, you might as well stay for the New Year's Eve celebration too. The Christmas celebrations in Mangalore are also worthwhile. Attending a Christmas mass either in Mount Mary church in Mumbai or Velankani are experiences one shouldn’t miss out on.
Bangalore - Mysore
Hassan - Belur - Halebid - Hospet - Badami - Goa - Bangalore
Chennai - Mahabalipuram
Kanchipuram - Trichy - Madurai - Periyar - Cochin - Bangalore - Mysore - Belur - Halebid - Hassan - Hospet - Badami - Goa - Bombay
Trivandrum - CapeComorin
Kovalam - Alleppey - Kumarakom - Periyar - Munnar - Cochin - Trivandrum