12 December, 2018
One of the festivals that is perhaps celebrated the world over with equal enthusiasm happens to be Christmas. Christmas is the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ and Christians celebrate it with a lot of happiness, mirth, and devotion. Christmas has become more or less a festival that people of almost all religions also join in the celebrations. Christmas celebrations in schools, colleges, and offices are common. Most shopping malls and public places are also decked up for Christmas, and it all culminates in the New Year.
As in the case of many other festivals and traditions, Christmas too has evolved a lot in India and many parts as well as sects within, celebrate it in different styles. However, the underlying concept of a Christmas tree, Star, Midnight mass, and a sumptuous lunch and new clothes and presents are pretty much common across.
Preparations for Christmas start with getting the Christmas tree and the decorations for it. A bright Christmas Star is hung outside the house, and it shines through the night. For Christmas tree, people use any tree if they don’t find the Christmas tree and decorate it. Nowadays, you even have the artificial ones that can be reused. Christmas carols are also seen in most parts of India, with people singing carols in the neighborhood and the churches.
Most people also prepare specific Christmas delicacies, and these differ from region to region. Christmas cake though is typical across the world. Most Christian houses and even in the churches, you find Christmas cribs being made, depicting the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are decorated with replicas of the baby Jesus Christ in a crib.
Another exciting ritual that most people follow is that of Santa Claus, who brings presents to the children. In the Western countries, they hang the presents in stockings under the Christmas tree and say that Santa delivered it. In most schools, colleges, and offices, the Secret Santa game is played where people buy presents for their other classmates or colleagues and deliver it secretly. Christmas feast with many sumptuous dishes is common across India, and people invite their friends and families over for the same. Traditional dishes in Indian Christmas lunches range from chicken, mutton, beef or fish Biriyanis to a variety of curries, both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian. The dessert may include cakes, pudding, payasam, and custard. The Christmas sweets and savories across India are cookies, rose cookies, a variety of cakes, chips, chaklis, macaroons, gulab jamuns, etc.
Many households also follow this up with Christmas party in the evening, along with a dance and a lavish dinner, and enjoy with their friends and family. Usually, the celebrations last till the New Year, when people enjoy with a New Year Eve Mass and Party and wind up for the year.
The Christmas-New Year time is a good one for shoppers as most shopping areas, supermarkets and malls deck up with a variety of Christmas decorations. You can feel the festive spirit in the air, and you find a variety of Christmas stars in various hues and sizes, along with the decorations for the Christmas trees. Most of these are reusable and can be neatly packed away after use.
A variety of ornaments like stars, gifts, bells, wreaths, tinsels, balls, snowflakes (sometimes cotton), fairies, and multi-colored lights are traditionally used to decorate a Christmas tree. Many of these ornaments can be easily made at home as well. The other items to be shopped for Christmas include cakes (again, if you are not making at home), wine, sweets and savories, and new clothes and Christmas presents for the family members.
Christmas is also said to be the time of giving; one when we seek to provide for the less fortunate ones in our society and ensure that, they too have a good Christmas. Many good Samaritans play Santa to distribute gifts and food to the less privileged people in the society during this time. Here is hoping that this Christmas lights up your homes and lives alike and may you also be able to do the same for someone less fortunate around.
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