Christmas Celebrations In India
Christmas In Bangalore
Indian Christians are a minority,but living in the largest democratic and secular country of the world,every Indian city sports a festive look during the Christmas holidays.
Schools and colleges close from mid December to first week of January.They put up Christmas pagents and sing carols for their parents and wellwishers.On another day,the same christmas program is held for invited guests who include old people from Old Age homes,poor orphan children from Orphanages,physically and mentally handicapped children and adults,destitute women-all those needing LOVE.They are treated to a hot meal of Biryani(a spicy rice dish with vegetables or chicken) and Payasam(a sweet dessert made of rice).Presents are given by the Santa Claus!
Churches are decorated within and without with festoons and brightly coloured lights.Christmas trees are all lit up and decorated.Nativity scenes are depicted.Sunday school children enact the christmas story while the Teens and Youth put up a christmas play.Parishers go on carol rounds of not just members homes,but also Old Age Homes and Orphanages.The church also collects groceries,toiletries,clothes,blankets,lunch boxes and toys to be distributed as gifts to the needy,especially poor families in little known villages surrounding the beautiful city of Bangalore.There are little christmas parties for the orphans,widows,senior citizens,destitutes where gifts are given.Parishers come together for a night of Campfire and Dinner on a weekend.Santa Claus makes his entry dramatic each year(according to a current theme) to light up the campfire before giving presents to the children gathered.
Several missionary societies and music groups that are now famous,organise carol singing competitions and still others have christmas musical shows.Beautiful rending of Christmas hymns and lyrics in English and the local languages such as Kannada,Hindi,Tamil,Telugu,Malayalam is applauded by crowds that wait year after year.
The Shops and malls,markets and commercial establishments all offer discounts and the best in retail goods.Restaurants and clubs offer special Christmas Buffets.Every commercial area is decorated bright and gay,with real and artificial christmas trees vying with each other in terms of the brightest and gaily lit.
Christmas In The Indian Home
Traditionally in India,we are family oriented.Hence,Christmas is a time for family reunions.Most large families and their extended families all make it a point to fly home every Christmas to prepare Christmas Eats the days preceding christmas,buy presents,find the right greeting cards,shop endlessly,visit the tailor's for that perfect fit to their saree choli,decorate the house,decorate the Christmas tree,arrange the Nativity scene,eat heartily,drink merrily....the celebrations go on until the New Years Day when most pack their bags to head home.Relatives and friends are visited,cake and wine sampled.And of course,it is open house at home as well.Lunches and dinners are special throughout the christmas season.Neighbours and family friends are invited for a christmas party where homemade indian christmas short eats such as kulkuls,chaklis,rose cookies,karjikais,adirasams,mixture vie with the western doughnuts,cakes,biscuits,rolls.People of all faiths come to wish christians in India on Christmas everywhere.
On Christmas eve,or on Christmas morning,most christian families go together wearing new clothes and jewellery to church.After service is a time for fellowship with greeting each other and taking pictures.Once we reach home is another endless photo session with the family.A homemade rich plum cake is cut and distributed.Most Indian Christian families love to prepare the Biryani,a spicy dish prepared with rice and chicken or mutton as the main dish.Accompaniments can range from fish fry,chicken kababs,mutton cutlets,pork vindaloo,mutton or chicken chops in addition to brinjal curry,salads,eggs,raitha.Desserts will be some form of payasam,fresh fruits and icecream.Some families love to cook Biryani in their backyard over firewood.The whole family is involved in shopping for the ingredients and firewood the previous day by the men and the ladies set about peeling,grating,grinding and washing and storing in the refrigerator ready for the actual preparation the next day after returning home from church.Children scurry about playing and tasting everything after opening their christmas gifts.The christmas tree has gifts placed under it for everybody by everybody else in the family with their name on it.Usually,the seniormost family member has the privilege of being Santa and giving away all the presents under the tree flashing endless smiles into the cameras and videocams that each family wants to capture.
Come Celebrate Christmas With Us!
Indian Christmas is a blend of the traditional with the modern.The clothes,food,drink,the church service,the decorations are all a blend of the Western and the Indian.Our thinking is also a bit of old and new.We believe in sharing the Christmas Cheer with all whom we know and don't know.We love to share what God gives us and and thank Him for sending His son,Jesus!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU,from Bangalore,India!!!