STORY: Cities decorated with revelry, midnight masses in churches mark pre-Christmas celebrations across India, with the hustle and bustle in the markets as people kick started the festivities to give an aura of advent of the festival.
Christians make up around 2 percent of India’s 1.2 billion strong population with its largest concentration in the southern and north-eastern states.
India is a land of diversity; therefore people from different regions have different customs and beliefs which influence the Christmas celebrations.
Christmas is a very special occasion in India and people prepare special dishes for the day.
Indian curries and other regional delicacies make Indian Christmas special.
Locals lined up to attend the midnight mass, along with children singing Christmas carols in Coimbatore city of India’s southern Tamil Nadu state.
Thousands of people gathered to catch a glimpse of 45 feet tall Christmas tree.
The entire city is decorated with revelry which makes it the perfect place to be at the time of Christmas.
One of the visitors, Evan said on Thursday (December 20) that he was excited to see one of the tallest Christmas trees in the city.
“It’s great to be here with one of the largest Christmas trees in Coimbatore. It has beautiful decorations and it just gets me really excited for this Christmas season, laughter of joy and of sharing with the family. I am so excited to be here in India for this time and we are just really pleased to be near to one of the biggest Christmas trees in Coimbatore,” said Evan.
Markets in Visakhapatnam city of India’s southern Andhra Pradesh state also witnessed a heavy rush with thousands of people flooding the shops decked up with the decorative items ahead of Christmas.
The locals are making beelines shopping for attractive Christmas trees, cakes, gifts and decorative bells, despite skyrocketing prices.
“We are in the preparation of the Christmas and we are visiting this stall to buy some items for our Christmas tree and as the rates of the petrol, gas, everything has gone up, so the rates of these items are also reaching the sky. But the items are really good,” said Pawani, a local.
An exuberant wave of festive cheers has also gripped India’s northeastern state of Assam, as people prepared for the festival with gusto and high spirits.
The three-day cake fest has been organised from Thursday (December 20) and would conclude on Saturday (December 22).
Bakers in Guwahati city geared up to create a mammoth Christmas cake as markets witness a heavy rush with people purchasing exclusive decorative items ahead of the festival.
One of the participants, Ruli Das said that many visitors came to enjoy the cake fest.
“This is the only cake festival which is organised in Assam where many people come to enjoy. Eating cakes and other bakery items in this season is just great,” said Das.
It is a night of echoing carols and solemn prayer as churches across the city rang in Christmas with the midnight mass.
Hundreds gather in gaily decorated churches and lit candles to offer prayers.
Xmas stars, trees, cribs and decorative items form a vital part of Christmas celebrations in the state.
Marking the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is celebrated by many across the world on December 25.