Christmas, the birthday of the Lord Jesus, is celebrated annually on December 25. Christmas is an important holiday in India, even though Christians make up less than 5% of the population. People of all religions participate in the festivities, which have become highly commercialized. Traditional Christmas cheer can be found in many parts of the country.
How Is Christmas Celebrated in India?
Food, wonderful food. In India, Christmas is all about food! Huge Christmas buffets featuring all of your favorite foods are offered by international luxury hotels: roast vegetables, delectable desserts, and roast meat (including turkey). Most lodgings in India will hold a unique Christmas supper of some depiction, however it might have a greater amount of an Indian flavor to it.
India’s Catholic-dominated regions will celebrate with decorations.
Where to Celebrate Christmas in India:
Goa is one of the best places to have a traditional Christmas—Indian style—because of its large Catholic population. Churches also hold Christmas services, including Midnight Mass. Christmas cheer fills its numerous charming old Portuguese-style churches. On Christmas Eve, many churches hold Midnight Mass and sing Christmas carols. Markets, streets, and houses are decorated for Christmas. Try not to miss respecting the illuminated Gothic veneer of Mae de Deus church in North Goa’s Saligao town.
Panjim’s Fontainhas Latin Quarter is a wonderful location for Christmas celebrations. Every day at 6 p.m., Make It Happen usually holds a Christmas Evening Walk in Fontainhas with a special Christmas meal and a brass band.
Kolkata’s Christmas celebrations are also well-known. Strings of lights and other decorations give Park Street a stunning glow. Flurys has a special Christmas menu with a variety of Christmas treats and exquisite Christmas cakes. An additional draw is the Kolkata Christmas Festival, which is put on in conjunction with West Bengal Tourism. With food and culture stalls, Christmas carols, and choirs, it dominates Park Street. At Allen Park on Park Street, bands and choirs perform on stage. The festival will take place in 2022 from December 20 to 23. The Christmas parade on Park Street is the highlight.
On Christmas Eve, head to Kolkata’s magnificent Saint Paul’s Cathedral, which features Gothic Revival architecture. This significant historical church was dedicated in 1847 and is situated near Victoria Memorial at the southern end of the Maidan. In addition, it will be illuminated and festively decorated for the occasion. On Christmas Day, the cathedral is open to the public until 4 p.m.
Visit Bow Barracks, which is located just off Central Avenue and is home to the majority of the city’s Anglo-Indian residents, for a memorable Christmas celebration. Unique Christmas occasions happen from Dec. 23 until New Year’s Eve. The most well-known Anglo-Indian singers, bands, and musicians from Kolkata will perform at the grand event on December 23. Everyone is welcome to join the hundreds of people dancing on the street until after midnight. This region is explored on a fascinating walking tour by Calcutta Photo Tours.
Another popular location for a traditional Christmas is Mumbai. While there are churches all over the city, Bandra’s western suburb is primarily Catholic. The most well-known churches in Mumbai host Midnight Mass. Notably, Saint Thomas’s Cathedral recently reopened following a comprehensive architectural restoration after celebrating its 300th birthday on Christmas Day in 2018. Hill Road in Bandra also looks festive with Christmas decorations and bakeries filled to the brim with treats. Try to attend Bandra West’s annual community event, “Carols on Convent Road,” which is organized by locals.
Another place in Mumbai where Christmas is enthusiastically celebrated is the small, 200-year-old Matharpacady village in Mazgaon. This East Indian Catholic village is beautifully lit at night and decorated for the occasion.
Sacred Heart Cathedral at Connaught Place in Delhi hosts the most attended Midnight Mass in the city. The entire Connaught Spot region hums during Christmas and the week paving the way to it. Food stalls, Christmas decorations, and other street vendors abound.
Kerala Christmas falls on the same day as the Fort Kochi Cochin Carnival in Kerala. The carnival comes to a close on New Year’s Day with a massive street procession and the midnight burning of a massive Santa effigy (known locally as Pappanji). In 1984, the Portuguese heritage of the city was honored with the introduction of Pappanji as part of the Cochin Carnival. It is a Portuguese word that means “grandpa,” and some people believe that the effigy is not Santa but rather an old man. The end of evil and the beginning of something new are symbolized by Pappanji’s burning. On December 30, the effigy will be on display at the Fort Kochi Parade Ground.
Spend Christmas the European way at the previous French state of Pondicherry. Ensembles perform shows on the promenade leading the pack up to Christmas Eve, a Christmas market happens at the French Worldwide School with slows down selling reflected on wine and conventional yule log cakes, and a French-themed Christmas administration is held at the Eglise Notre Woman des Anges (Our Woman of Heavenly messengers Church) in the French Quarter.
In addition, the substantial Christian population of India’s remote northeast (go to Shillong in Meghalaya, Kohima in Nagaland, or Aizwal in Mizoram), as well as other south Indian cities like Bangalore and Chennai, celebrates Christmas extensively. The Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with a choir at the Shillong Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is well-known.
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