Christian community in India celebrates Christmas with pomp, gaiety and devotion. This festival is celebrate evening of Christmas on 24th Dec and continue till New Year’s Day. All Christians across the country mark the birth of Lord Jesus Christ in Christmas day by participate in special masses organized in churches. Celebration of Christmas is marked by carols, cakes, candles, bells and the decoration of Christmas tree. Ladies start preparations for the traditional Christmas cake which is anxiously awaited not just by the entire family but also by the neighbors. This festival has assumed secular overtones and evening joyfully celebrated by people of all religions and community. Christmas day called “Bada Din” (Big Day) in Hindi and Christmas is a national holyday in India. People from all religions join their Christian friends to make the most of the joys celebration. Christmas in India may not be as widespread affair as in some western country but in India, this festival is celebrated by the Christian community across the country with great zeal and gaiety. People staying in different cities for job or higher studies rush back to their homes to celebrate Christmas with their near and dear ones.
Customs of Christmas celebration vary in the vast expansion of India, this varies largely because of local culture of influence. Generally, on the day of Christmas, people of Christmas fraternity gather in church for worship. Here, they attend Church services and sing carols. There is also the concept of Midnight in India. In fact, it is a very important service and holds great religious significance amongst the Christians of the country. On the night of 24th December, all the Christian families attend the Midnight mass at the local churches. The Churches in India are also decorated with the Poinsettia flowers. In South India, for instance, Christians light clay lamps on the rooftop and walls of their houses, the same way as Hindus decorate during the “Diwali” festival. . Besides, in several states of India a popular custom is to decorate customs is to decorate customs banana or mango tree instead of traditional Pine tree. In northwest India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil tribe go out night after night for a week during Christmas to sing their equivalent of carols the whole night through. In Mumbai, which has one of the largest Roman Catholic communities in India, there is a tradition to depict nativity scenes and decorate home with big stars.
Udaipur celebrated the year with lots of joy and happiness. The celebrations though started long before the Christmas day itself. There was an Inter-Church Caroling too, held in the Pentecostal Church (situated at Rani Road) this year, on Dec 23.
Father Kulranjan Nicholas, Parish Priest, The Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral (popularly known as St. Paul’s church) said that the highlight would be the Vigil Mass on Dec 24 from 11pm to 2am, where Bishop Joseph Pathalil would be the main celebrant of the Mass, assisted by more than 10 priests. “It will be in Hindi and after the Mass, we will have refreshments as the clergy and parishioners to greet each other a blessed Christmas. It is a time for family get-togethers, praying together. There will also be cultural programmes” Fr. Ranjan said. He trusted the dedicated team of people in charge of the project will come up with a remarkable and outstanding display of the Nativity Scene. This week, Fr Ranjan (and his assistant priests) has/have also been going around this week giving sacraments to the sick and the bedridden. Fr Ranjan added that a blood donation campaign is also being planned tentatively to be held on Dec 29 in the church premises. Check out the pictures below to see the Christmas celebrations in Udaipur
In the end, Team UdaipurBlog wishes all its readers a very happy Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. 🙂
Guest Author: Aniket John
Photo courtesy: Aniket John and Mujtaba RG
Special Thanks: Father Kulranjan Nicholas