Celebrating Christmas in India has seen a steep spulrge in recent years. Different parts of India see different style of Christmas celebration influenced by the local cultural, religious and spiritual values. Nonetheless, the whole purpose and message behind the celebration of Christmas remains the same throughout India. It’s service to the Humanity in the name of the God, in this case Jesus Christ; pompous celebrations in society and the message of brotherhood above all religions in different customs. Here is the list of best places to celebrate Christmas in India this year.
Christmas in Goa
Goa, a name famous for new year party, beaches, sun, sand, backwaters, cottages and lot more. However, many a times travellers from different countries and continents like US, Europe do not realize that Goa also holds a grand Christmas celebration in its churches like Basilica of Bom Jesus, Three kings Church etc. every year. Though these celebrations are influenced a little by the local culture and the customs but still it surely worths a visit there.
Vehicle entry around Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the most famous, biggest and oldest Churches in India is restricted almost a kilometer before. Roads leading to the Church is cleaned and Decorated with colorful flowers and ornamental lights everywhere. Big pandals are set all around and in the midnight, people sing Christmas carols and greet each other. I saw more foreginers than Indians that night. The main reason of this grand Christmas celebration in Goa is, most of the population of Goa is Christian by religion and that’s why Goa witnesses a grand Christmas celebration.
Christmas in Puducherry:
If in Goa, Christmas is celebrated in pompous fashion, in Puducherry, Christmas is celebrated in very peaceful manner. Puducherry had been a French colony for a long time and one can still see the French cultural influence in Puducherry. For example, colony names, the street names, street naming conventions, traffic police dress etc. The same way Christmas in Puducherry us greatly influnced by the French culture. However, one can also see a great Tamil influence on the Christmas celebration pattern in Puducherry because Tamilnadu is a neighbouring state of Puducherry in India.
Once I had also spent my Christmas eve in Puducherry. A small local market is set up along the Gandhi beach; Churches (here, Immaculate Conception Cathderal Church) is decorated with lights. Apart from the lightings and decoration, whole of this church is whitewashed completely. Small holy places are set all around the Church premises showing the life of Jesus and Nativity of Jesus. One can also see a lot of beautiful paintings and statues all around showing the birth to death of jesus. More about Christmas celebration in Pondicherry can be found here.
Christmas in Chennai:
If Christmas in Pondicherry is more about Church decoration then Christmas in Chennai is more about house decoration and Chruch mass.
I have spent around two years in Chennai and have seen two christmas. Its more about personal than public in Christmas. Of course, churches are decorated everything happens as it happens in Puducherry but on top of that people decorate their houses on Christmas. Sweet little lights of different colours hanging outside the houses, streets decorated and cleaned are something you cannot miss on christmas in Chennai. Even they play Christmas carols through the night. The best way to enjoy and feel Christmas in chennai would be to travel around the city on Christmas eve.
Christmas in Mumbai:
Christmas in Mumbai is different in many aspects that rest of India. It sees people gathering, exchange of greeting cards, huge charistmas wallpapers, exchange of christmas gifts, partying and even burning candles and celebrating the Christmas like Diwali, the festival of lights, in India. Western Bandra in Mumbai will be the place I would like to recommend the people wanting to visit Mumbai on Christmas. Apart from decorations, greetings and cards, one can also enjoy a lot of different types of cakes and christmas trees decorated with twinkling lights in front almost every house in a row.
Christmas in Kolkata
Kolkata because of the many reasons is unique in Christmas celebration just like Shillong, a hill station in North East India. There are various reasons behind this. Some of the reasons for grand celebration of Christmas in Kolkata is:
- Artistic sense of Bengali people make the decorations influenced by Hindu culture. For example, apart from churches, tents are also decorated in the premises in a very artistic ways.
- Delicious food of Bengali people: Bengalis are famous for making delicious sweets. If in Mumbai, you taste various kinds of cakes, in Kolkata be ready to taste a variety of sweets made from milk products and that too with a heavy discount
- Bengalis love to talk: Bengalis just love to roam around and talk and you can see that fervor around on christmas.
- Music like rock show and live concerts by youngsters is another big thing to expect on park street in Kolkata.
Christmas in Mussoorie/ any hill station:
If all the cities in India have got a unique reason to celebrate Christmas then Mussoorie has also got a very unique reason to celebrate Christmas. I will say, its the climate and the culture. In December, Mussoorie will be laden with snow so any Christmas decoration light that you see falling on the snow at night is aesthetically more beautiful than lights in cities in plain parts of India.
Another thing to must see christmas in Mussoorie is that Mussoorie has always been summer capital of British. And still the houses of Mussoori give you a feel of old England. Tin roof, narrow climbing streets, wooden huts, dogs and all. It adds another aura to the Christmas.
Last but the most important reason is Mussoorie or any other hill station of India like Shimla, darjeeling etc. are famous for famous English school based on old English traditions and that’s why you can see a different flavour of Christmas in Mussoorie or on any hill station of India.
Christmas in North East India:
If we look at the regions of India with significant amount of Christians then North East leads the way. Though smaller in size but percentage of Christians in North East India is as high as above fifty percent. Take any state Meghalaya to Mizoram, all the states of significant amount of Christians in there. The best part about the North East India during Christmas is beauty of North East India and the way, Christmas in celebrated. Celebration of christmas is highly influenced by the local culture and you should not be surprised to see local folk songs played on western music guitar and drums on Christmas in local attire. The complete mix up of Indigienous culture and western culture is a total thrilling experience.