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Xmas in India: Christmas Baba (Hindi) – Baba Christmas (Urdu) | Christmas Thaathaa (Tamil) – Christmas Thatha (Telegu)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on December 21, 2012

Christmas… Bada Din – Big Day

Many different languages are spoken in India. In Hindi Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Bade din ki badhai ho (बड़े दिन की बषाई हो)’; Urdu it’s krismas mubarak (کرسمس); in Gujarati it’s ‘sāl mūbārak (સાલ મુબારક)’; in Sanskrit it’s ‘Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa’; in Bengali ‘shubho bôṛodin (শুভ বড়দিন)’; in Tamil it’s ‘Christmas matrum puthaandu vaazthukkal (கிறிஸ்துமஸ் மற்றும் இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்)’; in Punjabi it’s karisama te nawāṃ sāla khušayāṃwālā hewe (ਕਰਿਸਮ ਤੇ ਨਵਾੰ ਸਾਲ ਖੁਸ਼ਿਯਾੰਵਾਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ) and in Konkani it’s ‘Khushal Borit Natala’.

Christmas Day called ‘Bada Din’ (Big Day) in Hindi is a national holiday in India and people from all religions join their Christian friends to make the most of the joyous celebrations.

Christians in India celebrating Christmas

Christians in India celebrating Christmas

Christian community in India celebrate Christmas with pomp, gaiety and devotion. In Christian households, preparations for Christmas begin atleast a month in advance. People get their homes whitewashed and indulge in spring cleaning of the house to give it a fresh new look. Ladies start preparations for the traditional Christmas cake which is anxiously awaited not just by the entire family but also by the neighbors!! Hectic shopping activity takes place as everyone buys new clothes for the festival.

Celebrations of Christmas festival begin on the eve of Christmas on 24th of December and continue till New Year’s Day.
Instead of having traditional Christmas Trees, a banana or mango tree is decorated. Sometimes people use mango leaves to decorate their homes. In tendency more and more Indians love Christmas with typical Christmas trees (made of plastic) in red, silver or golden tree decorations. Days before the festival markets take a colorful look as they are decorated with traditional Christmas trees, stars, images of Santa, balloons and festoons.
Euphoria for Christmas in India is largely based on the American media depiction. Gift marketers too create hype for Christmas by launching a rigorous advertising campaign through newspapers, radio and television.

Schools run by Christian missionaries celebrate Christmas by organizing nativity plays which depict the birth of Jesus Christ. Carols, songs and dramas make these celebrations even more joyful. Even non-Christian students enthusiastically participate in such celebrations.

In India, Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers presents to children from a horse and cart. He’s known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi, ‘Baba Christmas’ in Urdu (both of those mean Father Christmas); ‘Christmas Thaathaa’ in Tamil and ‘Christmas Thatha’ in Telugu (both of those mean Christmas old man); and ‘Natal Bua’ (Christmas Elder Man) in Marathi.

One of the largest Indian Christian Communities is in Bombay. A lot of the Christians in Mumbai (previously known as Bombay) are Roman Catholics.
Midnight mass is a very important service for Christians in India, especially Catholics. The whole family will walk to the mass and this will be followed by a massive feast of different delicacies, (mostly curries) and the giving and receiving of presents. Churches in India are decorated with Poinsettia flowers and candles for the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass service.
Christians in Mumbai often display a manger in a front window, (there’s great competition in making the nativity scene). Also families go to great lengths to hang giant paper lanterns, in the shape of stars, between the houses so that the stars float above you as you walk down the road. Every household also makes sure that they have a stock of home made sweets ready to visitors.

In north-west India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil folk, go out night after night for a week at Christmas to sing their own carols the whole night through. They go to surrounding villages singing to people and telling the Christmas story.

In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbors that Jesus is the light of the world.

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.

Compared to other religious festivals, Christmas is quite a small festival in India, due to the number of people who are Christians (about 2.3%) compared to people who belong to other religions. Having said this, the population of India is fare over 1 Billion, so there are over 25 million Christians in India!

(Source: 12/2012 – whychristmas.com | happywink.org)

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