Celebrating Christmas in India 1

A festival that is celebrated by over a billion people worldwide, Christmas is one of the biggest festivals celebrated around the world on 25th of December every year. A festival that celebrates the life, sacrifices and teaching of Jesus Christ, Christmas is as much about Santa Claus, lights, decorations, Christmas trees as it is about Jesus Christ. Christmas In India is celebrated with equal zest and fervor as in other parts of the world yet has given it its own flavor.

Below are some of the best places to celebrate Christmas in India.

1. Goa

Goa, Christmas in India

Christmas in Goa (source)

Known for its excellent beaches and legendary nightlife, perhaps Goa is the best place to celebrate Christmas in India. With its Portuguese legacy and Catholic population Christmas here is celebrated with a gripping fervor. The churches and homes are decorated with beautiful lights and poinsettia flowers while children sing Christmas carol late into the night. People of all ages line up at the churches to take part in midnight mass. The Christmas in Goa is very famous which also attracts thousands of tourists from different part of the country and abroad to its shore who come to witness this festival in all its colors.

2.  Shillong

Christmas celebration in Shillong, Christmas in India

Christmas in Shillong (source)

This amazing north-eastern city in Meghalaya has a considerable population of Christians who celebrate the birth anniversary of Christ with some pomp and glory, which makes it a picturesque place to celebrate Christmas in north-east India. The streets, the churches and the homes are decorated with beautiful lights and one can easily feel the excitement in the air.

The midnight mass sees huge crowds pour in to the churches of the city with bands playing soulful gospel music. The beauty of the region, its food and the general excitement for Christmas makes being here a memorable experience.

3. Pondicherry

Pondicherry, Christmas celebrations in India

Christmas in Pondicherry (source)

Is a fascinating little union territory just off the Tamil Nadu coast. The “Little France” as it is known in those parts of the country is gifted with some wonderful architecture, beautiful beaches and delightful French cuisine. Having a French lineage there are a lots of Christians here who celebrate Christmas with great zeal following all the traditional rituals and merry-making.

The churches, especially the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and Sacred Heart of Jesus are stunningly decorated and they are some of most beautifully decorated churches during Christmas celebration in India, offering midnight mass which sees the whole town gather at these churches. Celebrating Christmas here is a great choice as one can relax at the beach, enjoy the stunning marine life and experience the festivities at their best.

4. Kerala

Christmas celebration in Kerala, Christmas in India

Christmas in Kerala (source)

One can have a complete experience while having a holiday in Kerala during Christmas. The state has a very strong Christian population with countless churches across the state. The famous holiday is celebrated with great vigor across the state as people decorate their houses, the churches and the street with lightings and other materials.

The churches whether big or small remain open throughout the night and thousands of people gather at churches across the state to sing midnight mass. Besides being part of the festivities one can do so much from visiting the backwaters of Kerala to its lovely beaches, from shopping for spices to exploring the Western Ghats. It’s truly the best time to visit Kerala.

5. Mumbai

mumbai Christmas, Christmas in India

Christmas in Mumbai (source)

Mumbai is synonymous with a fast-paced life yet the city, which has a rich colonial past and has been the receiving point of many immigrants, is pretty famous for its Christmas celebration in India. The western suburb of Bandra is a place to see in Mumbai during Christmas.

It is known for its Catholic population and the Hill Road is stunningly decorated with flowers and lighting during the Christmas time. One can also spot decorated Christmas trees on the pavement of the Hill Road which the local families put up in spirit of the festival. The churches in the city are also beautifully lit up and decorated with people from all religious backgrounds seen enjoying with their friends and family.

6. Kolkata

Kolkata,  Christmas celebrations in India

Christmas in Kolkata (source)

A colonial stronghold back in the day, Kolkata has a very strange relationship with Christmas. Even though there aren’t many Christians in the city leaving out the Anglo-Indian community, Kolkata is a place in India where Christmas celebration is like its own festival. The churches are decorated, the streets are lit up and people of all ages go out for shopping. For many though Christmas means the delicious cakes and the bakeries in town are usually overflowing with customers during Christmas.

7. Bangalore

Christmas celebrations in Bangalore, Christmas is India

Christmas in Bangalore (source)

Bangalore has a rich cultural past and an alluring Christian legacy. It has numerous beautiful churches, especially in the central part of the town. Many of them, built by Europeans, have British or French influences and their own unique traditions for Christmas celebration in India. The prominent ones are St Patrick’s Church on Brigade Road and The All Saints Church on Hosur. Come December and the town is decked up in festivities.

Famous for it culinary delights, the city is spoilt of choices. One can head to Koshy’s for their plum cake, smileys and ginger tea, Thomsons Bakery, an old timer’s favourite, Caperberry for a delectable four-course turkey dinner just stroll along the famous eateries of MG road. Christmas celebration in Bangalore is a charming experience and is sure to leave you in the most joyous of moods.

8. Sikkim

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The state of Sikkim has a small Christian population and although a predominantly Hindu state Christmas is a cause to celebrate for the indigenous population. The celebrations add more colour to this otherwise vibrant and small northeastern state of India. Sikkim has always been a preferred choice for travellers and tourists with its lofty Himalayan peaks capped in snow and pristine waters that emerge through its rivulets. It is therefore very aptly referred to as the best winter destinations to visit. In December and January, the state will be freezing under the encompassing veil of snow which enhances the beauty of the land. Every household in the land is lit up with stars and decorated trees, and the air smells delightful with roast meat and baked cakes. Restaurants and pubs stay open until late night with festivities going around in great excitement all around. This is one of the best time for honeymooners to visit Sikkim with the festive excitement and romantic aura the place provides.

9. Manali

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The state of Manali has been experiencing an increase in its number of visitors every year especially during the months of Christmas. In the highways of Manali, a beeline of vehicles can be seen slowly making its way to the ethereal beauty of Manali. With the city encompassed in layers of snow tourists from various places and nearby areas make way to Manali to celebrate White Christmas. The festivities continue to well after the New year with erected snowmen cover the landscape of Manali. Santa clauses stand at the entrances of hotels and restaurants inviting festival goers for a bite of Christmas special induced with a mix of Himachal cuisine and also hands out goodies. To add a blend of local taste to the festival mood, the visitors are entertained with the Himachal Kullu folk music. The heavy snowing in the region gives it an additional romantic grandeur bringing smiles on the faces of recently married couples. They sit entwined enjoying a sip of hot chocolate at the comfort of their hotels while listening to soft carol music. On the outside bonfires are lit, and people sit around singing and enjoying the chill and watching children projectile snowballs on each other. In spite of the chilling winter, the festivities going all around brings a certain level of cheer and warmth.

10. Chennai

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When it comes to the south Christmas is still a cause to celebrate, and the city of Chennai promises for a spirited celebration and stands true to its word. Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and has great prominence in Christian history with one of his disciples being allegedly killed here. The state also has many prominent churches including the Velankanni church which attracts more than six thousand visitors every Christmas season. What the state does not have in snow it makes up for it in other options to make your Christmas something of an epic experience. The city located on the Coromandel belt has the perfect mix of Christmas partying and spirituality in close quarters. During the evenings the festivities enter to a whole new dimension with clubs hotels and pubs hosting wild parties and enticing Christmas flavours with a tinge of Tamilian cuisine. On the streets, small groups of people visit neighbouring houses with music heralding the birth of Christ. A person clad in the attire of Santa Claus hands out goodies. Moving away from the bustle of the city the beaches also host a number of elegant Christmas parties. In a nutshell, Chennai is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas if you are not into snow and White Christmas.

11. Dadra and Nagar Haveli

The union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, unfortunately, do not register as a potential Christmas location but has real potential to become a major haven for the same. A visit to the place in December will show you how magnificently Christmas is celebrated in this union territory.  The exciting part of its celebrations is that there is a mix of tribal celebration to it which is very intriguing. There are also a few beautiful churches which are meticulously decorated, and one can attend the holy mass services in the evenings which are held in great festive spirit an fervour.

Where Not to Celebrate Christmas in India

Christmas in India is received with great zest and fervour in most states. However, Christmas is not very popular in certain other states in India as Christianity has not yet penetrated that far north of India. Therefore if you go celebrating Christmas in some remote northern state of India, you are bound to look somewhat of an oddity. Take hope though that would be an opportunity to tell about Santa Claus and reindeers swooping from the sky.

In order not to feel you left out from the celebrations that are going on in full frenzy in other Indian states, we have compiled a list of states where not to go celebrating Christmas.

Uttar Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh

Rajasthan

Maharashtra

Orissa

If you are planning a trip in December, Check these out Visiting Goa in December and Best Places To Visit In India In December

 

 

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About 

Chiranjivi is a student of journalism at Indian Institute of Mass Communication. His passions include traveling and writing that allows him to self-reflect and learn about the world! He is a regular travel content writer with Holidify.com