When your heart starts swinging, your nerves are filled with exhilaration, your spirits are raised high, and your whole body is replenished with energy, it's nothing but the magic of the festival called 'Christmas.' The very utterance of this sweet little word soothes the heart so miraculously.

Come December, and you will feel something special in the air. Everything about this month whether it is the soft and gentle breeze, the mildness of the sun rays, and the vibrancy permeated all over the surrounding simply create a transcendental effect. It's time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the saviour of humanity.

Christmas Festival

Jesus Christ's birthday is celebrated as Christmas worldwide by billions of people. This sacred and religiously auspicious day is observed as a national festival in India. It is a festival of fun, family, and friends and a perfect to reunite. It is the time to sink in festive mood and assimilate the important elements of life taught by Jesus Christ - love, peace, tolerance and brotherhood.

Christmas is a remembrance of peace, goodwill, and affiliation. The term 'Christmas' connotes 'Mass of Christ,' which has been originated from the Old English version that says 'Cristes Maesse.' The way this festival is celebrated in India goes to show that this country is truly a live example of 'unity in diversity.'

History of Christmas

Christmas has some resemblance with the new year celebration by the early Mesopotamians some 4000 thousand years ago. Before the birth of Jesus Christ, these people used to have a celebration of 12 days in the end of December every year which was to welcome the new year. The practice of carol singing, dancing around the bonfire, taking out processions, giving gifts, and holding holiday feasts were then the tradition.

Christmas festival has been celebrated since 98 AD. There is no record that can point towards the exact birthday of Jesus Christ. However, it was the Bishop of Rome, who in 350 AD proclaimed that let 25 December be observed as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Hence the Roman Christian calendar marks this day as Christmas.

Christmas Celebration in India

The celebration starts from the first week of December itself. To welcome Jesus Christ, homes are cleaned and painted. Christians start preparing dishes for oblation. Since shopping is an integral part of every festival, people just go crazy and purchase gifts for kids, friends, and family members. They also prepare the Christmas crib which resembles a small shepherd's hut. It is decorated with green grass, Christmas tree, and many miniatures. The crib symbolically represents the abode of Lord.

The streets and the markets at this time is busy with decorative items. Shops are opened till late to allow people to drop in after office hours. Even the grocery shops, and bakeries are busy as people either buy ready-made cakes or prefers hand-made cakes.

Churches don new looks due to the painting work. The lighting of candles and electric lights during the evening makes the atmosphere lively. Masses are conducted from 7 pm onwards till the time of Jesus' birth. Priests in the church read the texts from the sacred book. Community services are held in which the members of the church do charity works. Carol singing is also a tradition during the Christmas. One week before the sacred day, people gather in a group and go from house to house singing religious songs. People dance throughout the night and exchange gifts with each other.

One of the globally recognized Christmas characters who is most loved by children is the Santa Claus. Kids just wait for Santa to arrive. This holy man is dressed in a red color suit and appears with a bag full of gifts. He greets children with 'Merry Christmas' and give gifts to them. Guests are invited and served with wine and cakes. Lunch and dinner are organized in a traditional way and is taken with family and friends.

Goa is most famous for Christmas celebration. Many visit the city just to enjoy this festival. The whole atmosphere in the city becomes lively and cheerful. One can also see many foreigners in the street. The view of the churches during the evening time is magnificent. All the religious buildings are immensely decorated with sparkling lights and melody of the hymns and song sung inside the church touches everyone's heart.

Lots of fun and social activities take place on this day. The enthusiasm of the people in the city is something to experience in person. Several candles are lighted in the house, church and streets. The singing, dancing and drum beats in every nook and corner propel everyone to wish the night never end.

The unique thing about Indian festival is that it does not draw any lines of distinction. No matter which religion you follow, religious celebration is so magnetic in this country that all participate in each other's festival. And Christmas is the finest example when people relive the message of brotherhood.