HO! HO! HO! Have you been good all year, because it’s that time of the year when Santa Claus comes to the town!! Yes, we realize that India does not celebrate Christmas like the Wild West does, however we do have our own style of celebrating and we truly love it as we celebrate the spirit of Christmas that proffers forgiveness, love, grace and most importantly the act of sharing. Infact in several parts of the country Christmas is celebrated with pomp and show, zeal and enthusiasm; also the different customs and traditions add an interesting flavour to the celebration of this festival in India.
Twinkling lights strung across houses and markets, trees festooned with sparkling decorations, charming nativity scenes and bakeries brimming with the delicious aroma of cakes and other sweet treats–these are the best places to celebrate Christmas in India. From Shimla’s white Christmas to Kolkata’s cheerful “Bada Din” to Goa’s Portuguese-influenced festival, there are many ways to soak in the Yuletide spirit in India.
So, what we have done for you this time is that we have prepared a list of places that are famed for their Christmas celebrations in all the four directions of India.
The capital of the British government until 1911, Kolkata has a long and lively history of observing Christmas. Amid the Raj, British authorities facilitated supper balls with dances and rich dinners of meal turkey, pies, puddings and wines, alongside various parallel sporting competitions, military band exhibitions and plays. Kolkata still has a sizeable group of Anglo-Indians and observes Christmas or “Bada Din” with much enthusiasm. In the City of Joy, Christmas is synonymous with gleaming lights at Park Street, mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral and fruitcakes and other traditional treats at old fashioned bakeries, for example, Nahoum’s and Flury’s.
Arranged close to the Victoria Memorial, the nineteenth century St Paul’s Cathedral holds one of the greatest social events on Christmas eve. Home to the majority of the Anglo-Indians n the city, the area of Bow Barracks close Central Avenue is particularly bubbly amid this time with music, dance and great food. New Market, a noteworthy shopping center, is additionally lit up with shops selling trees and baubles. For a traditional flavour of Christmas in Kolkata, go to Nahoum’s, one of the city’s most seasoned bread shops that is renowned for its rich fruitcakes, mince pies, steamed Christmas pudding and macaroons. The West Bengal tourism board likewise sorts out a yearly Kolktata Christmas Festival at Allen Park, close Park Street and Camac Street, with carols, cultural performances, shops, food stalls and carnival like atmosphere.
Goa’s notoriety for being India’s most loved year-end party hotspot lays on its energizing beachside nightclubs and move music festivals, for example, Sunburn and Supersonic. For local people in any case, this time is particularly noteworthy on account of Christmas. This is when Goan homes and bread kitchens make customary desserts, for example, dodol (coconut and cashew squares), neureos (stuffed dry fruit of the coconut balls), kol-kols and fruitcakes, and decorate their home with lights, the Christmas star and nativity scenes portraying Mother Mary, Joseph and child Jesus. Neighborhood holy places resonate with Christmas songs and are beautified with Christmas trees. Encounter a slice of local life by going to a service at one of the neighbourhood churches or essentially going by one of Goa’s heritage cathedrals, for example, the sixteenth century Se Cathedral, the biggest church in India.
Now, in India the luxury of Snow is only experienced by the North most states. Shimla being one of them is a place where you can enjoy White Christmas just like the westerners do. Yes, it will undoubtedly be clamoring with travelers, yet the appeal of its heritage and views stays unmatched. The most romantic way to go to the hill station is by taking a ride on the toy train amongst Kalka and Shimla, with its fantastic vistas of snow-hung mountains from the glow of your cabin. Memorable British-time structures, for example, the Viceregal Lodge, Rothney Castle, Gaiety Theater and Woodville Palace make a period atmosphere, while the cozy restaurants and bistros covering the Mall give an appreciated reprieve from the chill. Keep your date with tradition by going to a service at Christ Church on the Ridge. Worked in the mid-nineteenth century, this neo-Gothic point of interest is the second most seasoned church in northern India. There’s an extra motivation to visit this year in light of the fact that Shimla has gotten snowfall on Christmas following a gap of 22 years.
Home to one of the biggest populaces of Christians in India, the memorable port city of Kochi is specked with hundreds of years old churches and synagogues. The city is festooned with Christmas stars and different adornments, with a general air of party noticeable all around. It’s anything but difficult to spot wooden nativity scenes, fir trees and Jesus figures in shops, markets and roads. Make your Christmas essential by going to a midnight mass in one of the city’s heritage cathedrals, St. Francis Church. Worked in the mid sixteenth century by Portuguese merchants, this is the most established European church in India furthermore where pilgrim Vasco da Gama’s remaining parts were briefly covered. The Gothic-style Santa Cruz Cathedral is one of the eight basilicas in Iandia, and was likewise implicit the mid sixteenth century.
The Cochin Carnival is a year-end musical procession of fireworks, decorated elephants, games and competitions for swimming, tug-of-war, bicycle racing and volleyball. The carnival traces it origins to the Portuguese new year celebrations organised during the colonial rule. There are cultural programmes such as performances of folk songs and dance forms such as kathakali and mohiniattam. Held in the backwaters of Cochin, the Indira Gandhi Boat Race is also held in the last week of December. Around 150 boatmen from the surrounding villages compete in an exciting display of oarsmanship.