Christmas is a time of year that brings people together. It’s a time for celebration, for rekindling old friendships and creating new ones. For many, it’s the only break from their otherwise hectic lives.

Christmas Celebration In India
A market all set for Christmas in Kerala. Photo: Shutterstock Images

This is especially true in India where Christmas is not widely celebrated as it would be elsewhere in the world. Here are some facts to show you what Christmas looks like in India – if you can’t make it home this year, we hope they give you at least a little bit of solace on this festive day!

What is Christmas celebration?

Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated by Christians around the world.

The precise date of Christmas is unknown but is believed to have occurred somewhere between 7 and 2 BC. December 25th was first established as the date of Christmas by Pope Julius I in the 4th century AD.

Christmas is typically celebrated with a religious service, special foods and drinks, gift-giving, and festive decorations.

Many people also enjoy attending Christmas concerts or watching Christmas movies. Some Christian denominations celebrate Christmas as a time to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ birth, while others see it as primarily a time of celebration and joy.

Regardless of how one celebrates Christmas, it is a special time of year that brings families and friends together to commemorate a very important event in history.

How Christmas celebration in India occur?

Gifts, Santa Claus, Befana–children in India are familiar with these characters along with the fact that December 25 is Christmas. We all know how this day is celebrated but there are still some facts that you might not be aware of about it. let’s explore them.

Christmas traditions in India:

In most areas of the country, people go to their parish church or a larger church for a religious service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day morning.

In many places, there’s also a tradition of attending early morning mass at midnight on Christmas Eve as well as reading special Scripture passages and singing hymns associated with the nativity story from the Bible.

At home after this service or sometimes before going to church families attend the traditional Christmas breakfast.

Gift Exchange/Secret Santa:

Many Indian families practice gift exchange instead of giving gifts to each person.

They draw names out of a hat with the name of the family member who they will buy for and then try to find that one gift that is perfect.

Another variation on this is Secret Santa where a parent may draw the name from a hat amongst all their children’s names, and then purchase a gift for just that child. In some parts of India, people celebrate by going house to house singing carols while carrying candles and lanterns.

Christmas trees:

The evergreen Christmas Tree was traditionally popular in Europe centuries before it became popular in India.

We can see some variations of the Christmas tree being displayed during ancient times in paintings, drawings and some photographs from all across Europe.

The first decorated Christmas Tree was placed by German Lutherans in their homes way back on December 24, 1521, even if they didn’t have a fir tree but simply decorated their normal candle holder with paper chains instead.

By the beginning of the 19th century, people began decorating trees inside churches as well as homes which led to the more widespread popularity of Christmas Trees among Europeans.

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Celebrations:

Although gifts are exchanged within families only on the eve of Christmas (24th December), there is no dearth of festive shopping sprees or greetings that happen on the day of Christmas (25th December). The holiday season begins with these festivities and continues till almost mid-January.

People celebrate with their families, go to church, attend parties at friends’ houses or nightclubs, eat lots of food (which they call “feast”) and enjoy a day off work!

In some Christian communities, people meet each other after mass and have breakfast together before heading back home for a late lunch.

Just as Americans enjoy turkey dinners during Thanksgiving holidays so do Indians enjoy chicken/mutton/pork poriyal-rice/chappathietc dinners during Christmas holidays considering it as a traditional festive meal!

10 Specialties of Christmas in India

There are many different ways that Christmas is celebrated in India, each region with its own unique traditions. Here are some of the most popular specialities:

1. Christmas cake: A rich fruitcake, typically made with dried fruits and nuts, that is served as part of the Christmas feast.

2. Mince pies: Small pies filled with a mixture of minced apples, and candied fruit.

3. Plum pudding: A steamed pudding made from flour, suet, breadcrumbs, raisins, currants, and spices.

4. Mulled wine: Wine that has been heated and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and other spices.

5. Christmas pudding: A dark, heavy cake made with dried fruit. It is soaked in brandy or rum before being served at Christmas dinner.

6. Plum-duff: A steamed suet pudding that includes mixed dried fruit and usually has a sweet sauce poured on top.

7. Mulligatawny soup: A spicy Indian lentil soup traditionally eaten during the rainy season but now often consumed over the Christmas holidays as well.

8. Panettone bread with marzipan fruits: An Italian sweet bread filled with raisins, candied citron, and orange peel that are covered in almonds, sugar icing, vanilla flavoring, and aniseed.

9. Gingerbread man cookies: A classic Christmas cookie made from flour, sugar, molasses, ginger, baking soda, and other spices.

10. Spiced nuts: Nuts that have been cooked in a sweet and spicy syrup.

Conclusion

Christmas is a time for reuniting with loved ones, telling stories about the past year and enjoying your favorite holiday foods.

But how do people celebrate in India?

We’ve rounded up ten of our favorite unique features that make Indian Christmases special! I hope these 10 specialities helped to learn about the Christmas celebration in India.

If you have any updates regarding the celebration, feel free to contact us and we will update it as soon as possible as per your request.