Best Christmas Celebrations In India
It is that time of the year when you feel like sporting everything red and green. It is the time for Santa Clause to come to town. Reindeers may not be there to welcome you in India and it might not be snowing too in major parts but all these do not deter people from celebrating Christmas with lot of fanfare. It is not just Diwali that is celebrated with much gusto in India, but Christmas is not far behind. There are parties at homes, decorated roofs and of course that sinful rum cake that you really cannot do without. But there are some places that celebrate Christmas much more in style than others. And it is not only cities like Mumbai and Delhi who are celebrating Christmas but small towns too have their own style of celebration. If you want to feel the chill and enjoy Christmas in style, here are the places you should be-
Goa is one of the most popular places to visit for Christmas celebrations. The simple reason being the huge Roman Catholic Indians here and also the Portuguese legacy of the state. But most importantly it is the feel of Christmas here that defeats everything else. You won’t feel the chill here for sure but this is a place that celebrates Christmas with grandeur. All the churches hold their midnight mass and you need to be there much in advance so that you don't miss out on it. What makes Christmas celebrations special in Goa is the party afterwards. Not only it is the Christmas day that tourists and locals enjoy till midnight but the celebrations starts a week before and carries on till New Year! Food, feni, beer - Goa has it all! Be it Anjuna, Mapusa and Candolim, there is a party on almost every beach, shack and home.
Delhi is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas because of its cosmopolitan culture and huge number of Christian expatriates. Christmas celebrations here are not restricted to just some areas but people flood the streets to have a look at some of the best decors in the country. People make a queue from Christmas eve to attend the midnight mass of Delhi's oldest church, Sacred Heart Cathedral. Celebrations begin much before that though with whole of Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi, decorated with Christmas colours. Christmas here is all about hot eggnogs with toasty marshmallows that are sold in the local bakeries and stores. The malls of Delhi and NCR are also finely decorated with huge Christmas trees and lavish food is served in all the restaurants. Also Read: Churches in Delhi
Christmas with a French influence is all about the celebrations in Puducherry. The Christmas celebration here is rather zealous and there is a huge Christian population here like the Goans. So you have plenty of reasons to come down here. The streets are lit up and lights dangling from all homes. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus along with the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels), The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Church of the Assumption, The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Church of Our Lady of Good Health are some of the places you don’t want to miss. The celebrations spread to the beach too with families sitting out for post Christmas dinners or just hanging out with family and loved ones.
Also Read: Churches in Puducherry
The state of Kerala is the home to some of the oldest churches in India along with many new ones. Christmas celebrations here includes a blend of the old and new. One can find Greek orthodox churches here along with Roman Catholic ones too. The smallest of the villages have streets lit up thanks to the far fetched spread of Christianity here. You will find a bit of difference in the style of celebration here as turkeys and chicken are replaced with local sea food and the wine glasses give way to the local rice liquor. There are special celebrations on hotels and beaches too, especially Kovalam.
The night is always young in Mumbai and with Christmas, it just becomes better. Mumbai is close to Goa and a lot of Christians from the state have made base in Mumbai. The city is also the host to the best cosmopolitan crowd in the country. There are many churches here that celebrate Christmas in a grand way. These include western suburb of Bandra where a lot of Christians reside. Some other important churches in Mumbai include the Holy Name Cathedral, Saint Thomas’s Cathedral, Gloria Church, Saint Michael’s Church, Mount Mary’s Basilica, Saint Peter’s Church, Saint Andrew’s Church and Lady of Immaculate Conception. With a lot of bakeries
in the town area, you can be assured of the best Christmas cakes in Mumbai.Also Read: Churches in Mumbai
Daman and Diu
Another Portuguese connection that India has is the Daman and Diu, a Union Territory in India. It too has a unique way of celebrating Christmas. The otherwise quaint area suddenly becomes lively and bright at this time of the year. The celebrations are not just about Christmas here. Many kinds of cultural events take place here which include the special Portuguese dance form Corrindinho. The homes and streets are lit up with vibrant lamps. People come out in thousands to attend the mass at popular churches like Saint Paul’s Church, Se Cathedral and Church of Our Lady of Rosary.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Dadra and Nagar Havelis is another Union territory of India that has a Christian connection. Since all of these places were under colonial influence, there are many Christians residing in the area. Of course, these places are also the home to some of the best churches. Dadra and Nagar Haveli too is lit up and decorated magnificently for the occasion of Christmas. You can attend a mass or service at one of the many churches here. Carols are sung and community dinners are held to celebrate the festive spirit. The party moves on to one of the exotic beaches where the party continues till the wee hours.
Christmas adds a truly spiritual and special touch to the City of Joy during Christmas. There is something about celebrating Christmas here that really makes it unique. Being the British capital of India, Kolkata or Calcutta has a strong Christian influence. Even today, there is a very strong Catholic and Protestant population who are active and take pride in making the most of the Christmas celebrations and the rest of the city joins them. Whether you are a Catholic or not, you will find thousands turning up for the Christmas mass at the St. Paul's church.
Park Street is the place in Kolkata you want to be on Christmas. A recent addition here has been that of a carnival celebrated on the streets, which remain closed to vehicular traffic for a two days. Stalls from some of the best bakeries in the city are set up along with live performances, music bands, contests, etc. The lighting too is mesmerizing with huge Christmas trees adding to the grandeur. Also, the best of the pubs are also located around the area so you don’t have to go very far to party. The light and sound along with exotic food items and Christmas breakfast and cake at the very famous Flurys is a must try. This is one of the oldest bakeries in the city. If you want, head to New Market for some Christmas shopping. Over here, you can experience some of the best street shopping, lights, and exotic cakes from Nahom.Also Read: Churches in Kolkata
A hilly place to celebrate Christmas would be Shillong. Celebrating Christmas in the hills has its own charm and Shillong with a predominant Christian population has loads in store for Christmas. Homes, hotels and streets are decorated with Christmas lights. There are trees lightened up all across the city. Youngsters head out with guitars and sing carols and songs on the streets. Midnight mass is held at churches. It is all about spending time with friends and family here as you enjoy gospel music and make the best of Christmas.
Also Read: Churches in Shillong
Darjeeling is another place to celebrate Christmas in India. Most of the action takes place at the mall road which is decorated with Christmas trees and lights. To add to the Christmas fervour, you can expect snowfall which will surely make your celebrations great. The shops and eateries stay open till late at night to ensure that you get the best of Christmas. Have the delicacies and Christmas cookies at Glenary’s. If you want a hot or cold cup of chocolate then Keventers is the place to be. Of course, you can get a glimpse of the beautiful celebrations during the day too but the night makes this place more charming.
A white Christmas is what you dreamed for and a white Christmas is what you will get in Manali. You can build snowmen, have snow fights and just hang out at the huge mall road. If you want, head back to the hotel for some added celebration or just snooze off after a heartwarming dinner of local cuisines.
On the other side of the hills is Shimla, which has one of the most beautiful churches located right on Mall road. You can also get a white Christmas here if you are lucky enough. Savor ice creams, cookies, cakes and delicious food here for throwaway prices. The entire place is lit up and your kids can enjoy horse rides, get gifts from Santa Claus you can take selfies in front of the huge Christmas tree. It is like a mini carnival.
The cosmopolitan city of Bengaluru is not far behind when it comes to Christmas celebrations. You can be assured that almost all parts of the city are lit up and you can join the celebrations here. You can head to the malls for special discounts and Christmas shopping or go to one of the party places. The streets are filled with Christmas stalls and special treats that are a part of the celebrations here. St. Mary’s Basilica, Christian Fellowship Church and City Harvest AG Church hold midnight masses on Christmas.