Indian Christmas has become an integral part of the Indian tradition of fairs and festivals, since the time the Europeans first set foot on the soils of this Asian subcontinent. With their coming to this golden land, the light of Jesus’ love and the doctrines of Christianity were soon spread to the natives of this country and Indian Christmas evolved as one of the brightest festivals of India. Today, India is proud to have a large population of Christian community who exists with mutual love and respect with all the other religions, all of which together form the exemplary brotherhood of India and a part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Indian Christmas is known as “Bada Din” in Hindi, which means Big Day and the Santa Claus is also known as “Christmas Baba” or Christmas Father.
Indian Christmas Traditions
The tradition of Indian Christmas has evolved in its own way and has its own similarities and uniqueness when compared with the western Christmas celebrations. The Indian Christmas festival has been modified with geographical boundaries, climatic influences and last but not the least, cultural values. One of the striking most uniqueness observed in the Indian Christmas celebrations is the Christmas tree. The Indian Christmas tree may or may not be the traditional pine tree that forms the core part of the Christmas festival all over the world. Instead, the role of Indian Christmas tree is mostly played by the banana trees or the mango trees, which are decorated in their full glory.
It is interesting to note, how the traditional Indian customs have heavily cast an influence on the Christmas celebrations in India. Many Indian Christian homes on this auspicious occasion, decorate their homes with mango leaves. Christmas festival in the western countries is observed by light candles to celebrate light over darkness and the same is done in India too. However, the candles in Indian Christmas tradition is replaced by ‘diyas’ or small oil-burning clay lamps, which are arranged in various patterns near the door, on the railings and near the Christmas tree to accentuate the celebration feel with their ethereal charm.
Evening Church services hold an important custom and tradition in Indian Christmas. The Churches here are decorated attractively with candles and poinsettias. The urban areas of India, mostly use the pine trees for celebrating Christmas and decorate them with the familiar Christmas tinsels, toys, stars and colorful streamers.
No Christmas is ever complete without meeting the Santa Claus. So, after the nativity plays are joyfully showcased, the Santa Claus arrives with his big bag of gifts and distributes them all to the kids along with loads of toffees and goodies. In the metros of India, Santa Claus is easily spotted in departmental stores, restaurants and amusement parks. Carnivals, fairs and DJ nights are common in the cities and the Indian nightlife comes alive in its full fervor during the eve of Christmas and the Christmas Day. Besides these merriments, caroling on streets and colorful processions form a beautiful part of the Indian Christmas tradition.