Saturday, 29 December 2012

Festivals of India in the month of December




Christmas


Christmas celebration in Agra
Being a British colony until 1947, many British traditions stayed on in India. Christmas is a state holiday in India, although Christianity in India is a minority with only 2.3% of the population.  Sincere devotees attend the church services. In many of the schools that are run by the Christian missionaries, the children actively participate in the programs. Also in many non-religious schools, there is tradition of Christmas celebration.



 
A vendor sells Christmas hats in India.
Christmas is also known as Bada Din (the big day). Commercialization and open markets are however bringing more secular Christmas celebration to the public sphere, even though it is not widely celebrated as a religious holiday. Days before the festival, markets take a colorful look as they are decorated with traditional Christmas trees, stars, images of Santa, balloons and festoons. Gift marketers too create many goods for Christmas and support them by launching advertising campaigns through newspapers, radio and television.



Park Street in Kolkata decked up for the festival.
Customs for Christmas celebrations vary in the vast expanse of India. These variations are largely because of the local cultural influence. In South India, for instance, Christians light clay lamps on the rooftops and walls of their houses, the same way as Hindus decorate their homes during the Diwali Festival. Besides, in several states of India a popular custom is to decorate 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.
 


Christmas in Goa:

 

 

Most exhilarating celebration of Christmas can be seen in the vivacious state of Goa. A large number of domestic and international tourists flock to the beaches Goa during Christmas festival to watch Goa at its cultural best. One can also regale in the best of Goa music and dance during Christmas festivities. Catholics in Goa participate in the traditional midnight mass services locally called Missa de Galo or Cock Crow as they go on well into early hours of the morning. The Carnival, preceding Lent, is the most important event at Goa. This is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

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