The festival of Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Though Christians comprise only a small part of the population in India, the festival has become immensely popular and is widely observed by a vast number of non Christians as well. Midnight mass, Christmas decorations, oil lamps and electric twinkling lights and the well known figure of Father Christmas are some of the common features of Christmas celebration in India.

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Importance of Christmas

Christmas is the birth date of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. Though scholars have estimated the year of birth of Christ, the exact date is unknown.

It is believed that this date was chosen as it is exactly nine months after the date in which Christ was thought to be conceived. Christmas is celebrated by Christians all over the world. The manner of celebrations differs.

It is often a mish mash of traditional Christian activities, secular customs and customs of local origin. In India, Christmas has become the most popular winter festival and the non Christian population takes equal pleasure from Christmas cakes and the presents brought by Santa Claus.

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When is Christmas celebrated?

Christmas is celebrated on 25th December every year. This is an approximate date of birth of Christ, though there is no historical data to corroborate it. It is observed as a public holiday in many countries including India.

In India, Christmas is also known as Bada Din or the longest day. This is because it marks winter solstice after which the days are supposed to get shorter and nights longer.

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Rituals of Christmas in India

Different parts of India celebrate Christmas in different manner. Some of them are as follows:

Large concentrations of Christians in India are Roman Catholic and live in Mumbai. So, Christmas is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm here. The Christians dress up in best clothes and attend the midnight mass.

Nativity scenes are hugely popular and often there is great competition in the nativity decorations outside the house. In addition, the homes are decorated with large paper lanterns and paper stars. Women prepare homemade sweets and cakes to give to visitors.

In many parts of India, banana or mango tree is decorated as the Christmas Trees instead of a pine tree.

The Christmas celebrations in South India have similarities with Hindu custom. Oil lamps are lighted and used to decorate the house, much like the festival of Diwali. The light signifies that Jesus is the light of the day.

The tribes of northeastern India have largely been Christianized and the festival is widely celebrated here. Groups of people visit different villages singing songs about the glory of Christ.

Santa Claus is one of the common features of Christmas anywhere in India. People dress up as Santa Claus and give out gifts and sweets to children.

Christmas festivities are celebrated with great enthusiasm, song and dance in Goa. Traditional midnight mass carries almost to dawn and a long carnival is held.

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Christmas festival dates between 2019 & 2029

2019Wednesday, 25th of December
2020Friday, 25th of December
2021Saturday, 25th of December
2022Sunday, 25th of December
2023Monday, 25th of December
2024Wednesday, 25th of December
2025Thursday, 25th of December
2026Friday, 25th of December
2027Saturday, 25th of December
2028Monday, 25th of December
2029Tuesday, 25th of December

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