Christmas or Christmas Day is a celebrated on
December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. Christmas is the biggest Christian festival and one of the national
festivals of India.
Today, India is home to 23 million Christians, 50% of whom
live in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Christians constitute 2.3% of India’s total
population and form the third most prominent religion in India after Hinduism
Christians form a majority of the total population in the eastern states of
Mizoram and Nagaland, a third of the population of Goa and a quarter of the
population of the coastal state of Kerala. But the influence of Christianity
can be seen and felt through the length and breadth of the country.
The towns and villages dress up for the yuletide spirit. Nearly
a week before Christmas, the church, club and school choirs start doing the
rounds of their neighbourhood and are greeted by people with cakes and other
eatables. Christmas carols are sung in various local languages all over the
During Christmas season they hang a beautiful star-shaped
paper lamp of various colours and sizes outside their homes. The star lamps are
however more elaborated with some patterns or cutwork designs on them.
Folks send Christmas greetings to their friends and families
in faraway places. People decorate their homes to the hilt with Christmas trees
(or the various substitutes available in the markets), wreathes with bright red
decorative baubles, festoons, bells, socks, Santa Claus and other small
Shops get ready to do brisk business and offer mega
discounts and sales. Markets are packed with huge crowds. People buy new
clothes, gifts (exchanging gifts is an age-old Christmas practice and people
choose gifts for their loved ones with great thought and affection), a variety
of things to cook, Christmas decorations, amongst other things.
Date of celebration:
The December 25
date may have been selected by the church in Rome in the early fourth century.
At this time, a church calendar was created and other holidays were also placed
on solar dates: "It is cosmic symbolism...which inspired the Church
leadership in Rome to elect the winter solstice, December 25, as the birthday
of Christ, and the summer solstice as that of John the Baptist, supplemented by
the equinoxes as their respective dates of conception. While they were aware
that pagans called this day the "birthday" of Sol Invictus, this did not
concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for
Christmas," according to modern scholar S.E. Hijmans.
Commemorating the birth of Jesus:
Christmas is the festival celebrating the Nativity of Jesus, the Christian
belief that the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament&prism;s Messianic prophecies
was born to the Virgin Mary. The story of Christmas is based on the biblical
accounts given in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18, and the Gospel of
Luke, specifically Luke 1:26 and 2:40. According to these accounts, Jesus was
born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem.
According to popular tradition, the birth took place in a stable, surrounded by
farm animals, though neither the stable nor the animals are specifically
mentioned in the Biblical accounts. However, a manger is mentioned in Luke 2:7,
where it states, "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn."
representations of the nativity placed the animals and manger within a cave
(located, according to tradition, under the Church of the Nativity in
Bethlehem). Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the
birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Many Christians believe
that the birth of Jesus fulfilled messianic prophecies from the Old Testament.
The Gospel of Matthew also describes a visit by several Magi, or astrologers,
who bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant. The visitors
were said to be following a mysterious star, commonly known as the Star of
Bethlehem, believing it to announce the birth of a king of the Jews. The
commemoration of this visit, the Feast of Epiphany celebrated on January 6, is
the formal end of the Christmas season in some churches.
celebrate Christmas in many ways. In addition to this day being one of the most
important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are numerous
other devotions and popular traditions.
Christmas period, people decorate their homes and exchange gifts. In some Christian
denominations, children perform plays re-telling the events of the Nativity, or
sing carols that reference the event. Some Christians also display a small
re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crib, in their homes,
using figurines to portray the key characters of the event. A long artistic
tradition has grown of producing painted depictions of the nativity in art.
Nativity scenes are traditionally set in a barn or stable and include Mary, Joseph,
the child Jesus, angels, shepherds and the Three Wise Men: Balthazar, Melchior,
and Caspar, who are said to have followed a star, known as the Star of
Bethlehem, and arrived after his birth.
The practice of
putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. From
pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire brought branches from evergreen
plants indoors in the winter. The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to
symbolise the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against
pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of
Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.
tree is often explained as a Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual
surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs,
and an adaptation of pagan tree worship.Christmas trees may be decorated with lights
Since the 19th
century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas.
Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these
plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage.
In the Western
world, the display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many
homes during this season. Other traditional decorations include bells, candles,
candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels. Christmas cards are illustrated
messages of greeting usually exchanged between friends and family members
during the weeks preceding Christmas Day.
Santa Claus and other bringers of gifts:
Sinterklaas or Saint
Nicholas, considered by many to be the original Santa Claus.
Christmas has for
many centuries been a time for the giving and exchanging of gifts, particularly
between friends and family members. A number of figures of both Christian and
mythical origin have been associated with Christmas and the seasonal giving of
gifts. Among these are Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus,
The most famous
and pervasive of these figures in modern celebration worldwide is Santa Claus,
a mythical gift bringer, dressed in red, whose origins have diverse sources. Santa
Claus is famous around the world for giving gifts to good children. Father
Christmas, a jolly, well nourished, bearded man who typified the spirit of good
cheer at Christmas, predates the Santa Claus character.
Special Christmas Delicacies:
Christmas family meal is an important part of the celebration for many, and
what is served varies greatly from country to country. Some regions, such as Sicily,
have special meals for Christmas Eve, when 12 kinds of fish are served. In
England and countries influenced by its traditions, a standard Christmas meal
includes turkey (brought from North America), potatoes, vegetables, sausages and gravy,
followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies and fruit cake. In Poland and other
parts of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, fish often is used for the traditional
main course, but richer meat such as lamb is increasingly served. In Germany,
France and Austria, goose and pork are favored. Beef, ham and chicken in
various recipes are popular throughout the world. Ham is the main meal in the
Special desserts are also
prepared: The Maltese traditionally serve Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, a chocolate and chestnuts beverage, after Midnight
Mass and throughout the Christmas season. Slovaks prepare the traditional
Christmas bread potica, bûche de Noël in France, panettone in Italy,
and elaborate tarts and cakes. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become
popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or candy, and Jamaican
rum fruit cake. As one of the few fruits traditionally available to northern countries
in winter, oranges were long associated with special Christmas foods.
Christmas you will get the best variety of Cookies, Ginger breads, Cakes (Christmas Fruit Cake,
Fudge, Candies and lot more.