Christmas in India: Decorated Mango Trees & ‘Christmas Baba’

Christmas in India, Christmas in India: Decorated Mango Trees & ‘Christmas Baba’, The Travel Bug Bite

Christmas in India is unique because 97.2% of the population is not Christian. They also don’t have pine trees, so they decorate banana and mango trees with fairy lights. The one who brings the gifts is Father Christmas, or ‘Christmas Baba’.

The city with the most Christmas spirit is Mumbai, because of their larger Christian population. Midnight mass is probably the most important aspect of the holiday in India. After mass, there is a feast of curry delicacies and present giving!

Similarly to Indonesia, the most popular decorations are lanterns. These are colorful star-shaped lanterns. Nativity scenes are also commonly seen and people get competitive about having the very best one. Cribs are also super popular at houses and churches. They are usually hand made.

“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.”

Why Christmas

Traditional Christmas in India

The most traditional catholics will follow the fast. This means that they don’t eat from December 1st until the midnight service on December 24th. Christmas stars are the most popular decoration during the entire month. The more stars, the better. Tat’s why every stationary store sells them!

Father Christmas, as I already mentioned, is the one who brings the gifts. There are many names for him in the different parts of India. He’s known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi and ‘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. In Kerala state, he’s known as ‘Christmas Papa’.

Christmas Feast

“Christmas sweets — mainly originating from Goa and adapted in the rest of the country — are traditionally called “kuswar,” and they range from deeply delicious dense Christmas fruitcakes to rose cookies and “kidiyo” (literally translating as worms, but these are deep-fried curly dough balls, dusted in icing sugar).

We also make sweet dumplings called “newrio,” stuffed with palm sugar, sweet grated coconut, and sesame seeds. Savoury banana chips, crisp chaklis (a round, deep-fried savoury made with lentils), and cardamom and cashew macaroons round up a versatile collection of Christmas goodies.”

The Kitchn

The featured photo is taken from The Holiday Spot. You can read more about Christmas traditions from all over the world on The Travel Bug Bite.

Christmas in India, Christmas in India: Decorated Mango Trees & ‘Christmas Baba’, The Travel Bug Bite
Christmas in India – photo from The Holiday Spot.

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