Christmas - The Festival of Joy

It is well quoted:

“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” - Helen Steiner Rice

Christmas is that occasion when we are all supposed to feel happy, isn’t it? Because the day is synonymous with joy, hope, love, and prosperity. With the melodious carols, illuminating fairy lights, lip-smacking plum cake and snacks, increasingly fancy exchange of gifts, decoration of Christmas trees and homes, the festival is celebrated with full enthusiasm and brings positivity and contentment in one’s life. A mythical figure named Santa Claus (a merry old man with red and white clothes along with flying reindeers and is said to bring gifts to the homes) and the Christmas tree, which symbolizes the spirit of the Christmas season plays the pivotal role.

Remember, the famous Christmas carol, “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh,” well, who does not?? is definitely one of the favorites.

Christmas is a Christian holiday that occurs on December 25 every year, honoring the birth of Jesus Christ (the son of God). It has evolved into a religious and secular celebrations all around the globe, comprising many pre-Christian and pagan traditions from two millennia. It is a common belief that Jesus, who is the light of the world became man and sacrificed himself in order to save mankind from its sin. The word Christmas is an English word, which means ‘Mass of Christ.’ It is introduced by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and commences the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West continues for twelve days and ends on twelfth night. Christmas Eve, the first day of celebration is the day before Christmas. It is celebrated on December 24, every year, as per the Gregorian calendar. The second day is Christmas Day, followed by the third day which is known as Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26.

The early Christian community distinguished between the recognition of the date of Jesus’ birth and the solemn celebration of that event. The real observance of the day of Jesus’ birth was long in coming. During the first two centuries of Christianity, there was strong opposition to acknowledge birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus. According to the church, saints and martyrs should be held in great respect on the days of their martyrdom and that will be remarked as their true birthdays, for this, several church fathers used to mock at the pagan custom of commemorating birthdays.


According to the gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. He was born while Luke, Joseph, and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem from Nazareth for the census. He was then laid in the manger, and angels declared him as the savior for all people. Moreover, shepherds gathered to adore him.

Further, the Magi followed a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the newly born. King Herod directs the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family escapes to Egypt and later returns to Nazareth.

Christmas in India

Indian has 2.3 percent of Christians among its population. It is quite a small festival compared to other religious festivals due to a small population. But having said this, the festival is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm.

Midnight mass is an important celebration for Christians in India, especially Catholics, which is held on Christmas Eve. The entire family, relatives, and friends walk to the mass followed by a huge feast and exchange of gifts. This feast consists of a wide variety of delicacies, mostly curries and yummy plum cake. For the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass celebration, the Churches are adorned with Poinsettia flowers and candles in India.


The most popular Midnight Mass is held at Sacred Heart Cathedral (Connaught Place) in Delhi. The whole NCR (National Capital Region) area thrills during Christmas, as well as the week leading up to it. Christmas decorations and lights, street food, chilly winters, lights the vibes of the festival in the capital city.


Christmas in Goa is a delight! With its large Catholic population, Goa has a lot of ‘western’ customs as part of their celebrations. It is because they have a historical connection with Portugal. People go on singing Christmas carols on their streets and colonies a week before the great day. The houses, streets, and marketplaces are being decorated with Christmas adornments and a Christmas Tree. There's a special Christmas feast and brass band comprises local sweets, traditional rich fruit cake, and a lot more. There is great splendor and show in Goa during Christmas and New Year’s celebration. People from all over India and other parts of the world come to Goa, especially to witness these celebrations.


Christians in Southern India put small oil-burning clay lamps on the roofs of their houses to indicate that ‘Jesus is the light of the world.’ In Kerala, the festival of Christmas occurs together with the Cochin Carnival. The carnival came to an end with the burning of a massive Santa like effigy (it's locally called Pappanji) at midnight on New Year's Eve. People make cribs in their homes and Churches.


The tribal Christians of the Bhil folk sing Christmas carols every night a week before Christmas, in north-west India. They even go to neighboring villages to tell locals about Christmas stories and perform carols along with them.

Elsewhere in India

Christmas is widely celebrated by the Christian population in the northeast region (Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram), and with a great splash in South Indian cities like Chennai, Bangalore, etc. In Shillong, the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is very popular for its Midnight Mass with the choir.

Traditionally, in India, Santa Claus or Father Christmas is believed to deliver presents to small kids through his cart. He is also known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi, ‘Christmas Thatha’ in Telugu, 'Natal Bua' in Marathi, 'Christmas Thatha' in Tamil, and ‘Christmas Papa’ in Kerala. Factually, parents arrange gifts for their children in the name of Santa Claus and uphold the festival zeal amongst them.

Christmas is really special in India celebrated with full delight at every corner of the nation!


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