Christmas festival celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ.It is celebrated every year 25th December all over world.People decorate their houses, erect Christmas trees, make cribs with figures of baby Jesus, Mother Mary,Joseph, the three kings who come to visit the baby and shepherd boys and their herds grazing around, depicting the scenes of Jesus' birth in the Bible.They decorate the Christmas tree, gifts and illuminate them.
On the Christmas day, people enjoy a sumptuous Christmas lunch.Christmas cakes and wine are served to visitors and gifts given to friends and relatives.Christmas celebrations very in different parts of India.In Some parts, small clay oil-burning lamps, mango leaves etc are used as Christmas decorations and mango and banana trees are decorated.All the major Indian cities wear a festive look.Shops and markets are decorated for the occasion and offer attractive bargains.
Carol singing , get-together and the exchanging of gifts enhance the Christmas spirit.Christmas parties go on for at least a week, retaining the festive mood to celebrate the new year.on 25th December Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Nativity of Jesus Christ , the founder of Christianity.
This is the most important and the merriest festival of the Christians.Other communities in India also look upon it as a festival of goodwill and greetings.During the British period it was celebrated on an All-India basis.From the Christmas Eve i.e the evening of 24th December public holidays for two days were declared.Thus the festival concluded with welcoming of the New Year.Children and youngsters looked forward to Christmas holidays when they enjoyed themselves to their heart's content.It was also during the British period that the christian missionaries penetrated to the interior of India even to the tribal regions, resulting in the number of people who were converted to Christian faith rendering the Christians becoming the third most important community in India.
After India achieved independence, this festival lost much of its official importance; yet the traditional celebration of it continues specially in metropolitan cities of Kolkatta, Delhi,Mumbai and Chennai, where Christians as well as non-Christians celebrate it on quite a grand scale.shops and homes take on a festive look.Streets and markets go gay with festival wares.
Dances, songs,Christmas trees, Santa Claus moving through the streets in his glittering colorful robes, glowing long snow white beard and shaking hands with children in the streets, creates special attraction of this festival.Families get together around sparkling Christmas trees, from whose branches hang numerous lovely gifts.When the youngsters receive the gifts and open them, they dance with joy.Both men women, young and old take pains in designing the cribs, sheep and shepherds, old Joseph, young Virgin Mary , infant Jesus nestling in his cradle of hay, angels floating in the star-studded sky and the Three Wise Men on the fringe of horizon.
The day is spent in meeting friends and relatives.Delicious dishes of turkey, wine and Christmas cakes are eaten and served to visitors,Greetings cards wishing joy and peace are exchanged.The night is enlivened with dances, carols and mid-night masses in all the churches.Youngsters dance hilariousl on the streets singing carols to the accompaniment of musical instruments.The most popular carol is : " Silent night, holy night all is clam, all is bright round you Virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild sleep in heavenly peace." Even upcoming artists get a chance to perform along with well-established artist.Thus the Christmas season is rung in with a feeling of happiness and goodwill amidst the clouds of discontent.
The early Christians in the Roman Empire could not celebrate the birth of Jesus and under compulsion they had to practice their religion in secret, because Christianity in Rome had grown up in blood and tears.To publicly profess their religion meant grave risks of life, and many a time resulted in death punishments.As a such events associated with the life of Christ were commemorated by keeping fasts, prayers and performing rites but not by public celebrations.But after the conversion of Emperor Constantine to the Christian religion 4th century A.D. that creed, professed by a few secret groups of enthusiastic believers was transformed into the religion of vast masses of humanity in Europe,Western Asia and North Africa.With this the need for a popular festival to annually celebrating Jesus' birth on different dates like 6th January , 19th April, 20th May, 17th November, and 25th December.By the 5th century A.D. 25th December come to be accepted as the most suitable date in the Western World, and gradually the Eastern Churches fell in line with the west.
In India all the Christians do not recognize this date.The Syrian Christians who belong to Kerala do not celebrate this festival on 25th December.They celebrate it on 7th January with procession of elephants and musicians.Those processions are almost like Hindu Temple festivals.It is believed that those processions spiritually elevate the place through which they pass and also prevent epidemics.The music, fireworks and illuminations turn cold, dark winter nights into bright, dazzling days.Gaily decorated crosses of gold or silver are the main sacred symbols that are taken out in processions.But with arrival of the Portuguese on the scene, images of saints were added to the procession.These age-old pageants are now being replace in Syrian churches by community prayers and services, aiming at spiritual uplift of the congregation.Yet most of the Syrian Catholic Churches even today take out small processions.The religions of India during 16th Century A.D. were ardent supporters of Christianity. So the Christian religion spread widely in their dominion.Christians observe certain days like the Palm Sunday , Monday,Thursday,Good Friday and Easter to commemorate certain events in the last 8 days of Christ's life-Crucifixion and his Resurrection.From Goa, the capital of the Eastern Empire of the Portuguese, missions were sent to several places in the country even to the Mogul court, but those missions did not achieve any spectacular success.
It was only during the British period that the Christianity spread all over the country.The festival of Christmas is celebrated for ten contiguous days.The end of these Christian festivities is commencing of the New year.The British introduced the Gregorian Calendar and throughout their rule it was the only calendar in use for official purpose.Even after they left and India became independent that calendar is being followed in India for official purposes.The first day of January is the New Year of Gregorian Calendar.
Christian New Year Clebration Around the World
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