Christmas is a winter festival that commemorates the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. Even though it's predominantly a Christian festival, Christmas is celebrated all over India with gusto. Read to know all about this magical winter festival.
Christmas is an occasion that needs no introduction! It is a unique festival that is celebrated to remember the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, who is commonly believed to be the divine Son of God. This festival is celebrated in the memory of God's only son, Jesus Christ. He is believed to have taken birth on Earth as God's messenger to spread the important message of love and humanity. He believed in prayers and forgiveness.
Let’s get to know more.
Christmas 2021 will fall on 25th December 2021 (Saturday). This occasion is celebrated on 25th December every year as it is the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. 25th December is regarded as the official fixed date of the birth of Jesus Christ; however, there is no actual historical data to corroborate it. In many countries, including India, Christmas is observed as a public holiday.
This date is usually also known to have the shortest day. This is because it marks the Winter Solstice. The daylight hours are supposed to be the shortest and the night the longest on this particular day. After this, the days become longer.
The term 'Christmas' originates from 'Ctistes Maesses.' This is an early English phrase for the 'Mass of Christ.' A Mass service, sometimes also referred to as the Eucharist or Communion, is where Christians remember that Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed and died for the people and then came back to life. Lord Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, is God's penultimate prophet and messenger. You would be surprised to know that 'Christ-Mass' service is the only service permitted to happen after sunset and before the rise of the Sun the next day. This means that people have the service at midnight. The name 'Christ-Mass' was shortened to Christmas. Nowadays, Christmas has become a much-awaited and loved festival that allows families and friends to get together and exchange pleasantries and gifts. Christmas has now become a global secular and religious festival.
The festival commemorates the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph. He is the second among the Holy Trinity of Christianity, i.e., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ sought to transform the lives of the people. He brought in a new spiritual turn to the lives of the people. Therefore, a new era dawned upon the world. The birth of Jesus Christ holds utmost significance for Christians because they believe that God sent his beloved son on Earth as a sacrifice to redeem the people from their sins. Jesus Christ was born to guide human beings on the righteous path and restore the moral order. He helped humankind to overcome the dark times. An individual who is humble, devoted, and has purity can enter into a new life of spiritual aspiration when the spirit of Christ takes birth within his heart.
Many non-Christian and Christian communities all over the globe celebrate this festival as the beginning of the New Year festivities and an opportunity to meet and greet their loved ones.
Christmas is synonymous with Santa Claus. You cannot think of Christmas without the legendary Santa Claus. 'Father Christmas' or 'Santa Claus' is the figure who is the traditional patron of Christmas who is known to bring gifts to children. The prevalent image of Santa Claus is based on the traditions associated with Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Christian saint.
The legend of Santa Claus states that he resides in the North Pole, where he makes toys throughout the year with the assistance of his elves. In the North Pole, he receives letters from the children asking for Christmas presents. Santa Claus loads his sleigh with presents and flies worldwide on Christmas Eve, and eight reindeers draw his sleigh. He visits the houses to distribute gifts to the children. Children are encouraged by their parents to leave stockings before going to bed so that they receive gifts from Santa. It is commonly believed that Santa slides down the chimney with a sackful of presents, leaves the gifts, and then eats the cookies and drinks the milk left for him by the children. The famous figure of Santa Claus is based on the traditions and legends surrounding the historical personage Saint Nicholas, who is the English figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of 'Sinterklaas'.
Christmas is widely observed as a cultural holiday celebrated by billions of people around the world. In India, Christmas is a gazetted holiday. The Christians across India celebrate this festival with extraordinary zeal, joy, and happiness. The festival is meant to honor the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. Regarded as an important festival for Christians in India and around the globe, Christmas has become a significant festival in India that is celebrated by people from all faiths with fervor.
Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when family and friends come together and take the time out to remember the good things in life. For children, Christmas is when they receive presents and enjoy a joyful time. Undoubtedly, Christmas is the most loved and famous winter festival in India. People celebrate the occasion by exchanging gifts, listening to Christmas carols, enjoying delectable dishes, and decorating the Christmas tree. The Christian and non-Christian populations are equally immersed in enjoying the presents brought by Santa Claus and the delicious Christmas cakes.
The manner of celebration of Christmas differs from one region to another. Christmas in India is often a mish-mash of traditional Christian activities alongside secular customs and rituals of the local origin. The celebration of this occasion comprises numerous customs and traditions, such as the arrival of Santa Claus, the exhibition of the nativity scene, and obviously, the Christmas trees.
People not only decorate the Christmas tree, but they also decorate their houses with wreaths, holly, lights, candy canes, mistletoe, and stockings. Many people use large paper stars and paper lanterns to decorate their homes. The star is commonly believed to have guided the three wise men. People in small groups visit door to door singing carols. Moreover, many people also attend the special Church services and the Midnight mass at churches on Christmas Eve. Some people put up a genesis scene with clay figures. Nativity scenes are also hugely popular. Lavish and festive meals are cooked, and people wear new clothes.
Homemade sweets and rich fruit Christmas cakes are prepared and are shared with visitors and neighbors.
Churches throughout the nation hold evening amenities on Christmas Eve. Many churches also hold special candlelight amenities at midnight.
A large number of Christians in India are Roman Catholics who reside in Mumbai, so Christmas is celebrated with a lot of splendor and pomp in Mumbai.
In many parts of India, mango or banana trees are decorated as Christmas trees instead of Pine trees.
In Southern India, Christmas celebrations involve people lighting small oil lamps and decorating their homes. This is quite similar to Hindu customs followed during the festival of Diwali. The light signifies that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
Christmas celebrations can be seen even in Goa. Most of the Christian population in Goa are Catholics. People go carol singing around their neighborhood for about a week before Christmas, and midnight masses are held.
This festival is also a huge occasion in the Northeastern states of India, and the festival is widely celebrated there. Groups of people sing carols and visit different villages singing songs praising Jesus Christ.
Malls, shopping centers, and offices all put up Christmas trees and decorations. Parties are organized, and people sing carols. People dress up as Father Christmas or Santa Claus and give presents and sweets to everyone.
Christmas is when people spread joy, happiness, and love. The day is dedicated to honoring Jesus Christ and spending quality time with your loved ones. Christmas is meant to bring friends and family closer to you. While Christmas is all about fun and frolic, it is also a significant festival for Christians. The occasion teaches people about love, the idea of giving and awakens the concept of humanity in people.
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✍️By- Team Astroyogi