Christmas and New Year in India

Do people celebrate Christmas and New Year
in India?

Do people in India celebrate Christmas and New Year? Well, obviously, not so widely like in Europe, US, Latin America or my country Russia – the countries with a majority of Christian people in general, but they do.

There are the Christian (Catholic) people in India too, though less. But not only they do celebrate Christmas here. Since there are representatives of most worlds religions in India, they are respectful and curious about each other’s Holidays, trying to take a participation in them.

However, Christmas has become more popular for Indians because of American movies. People don’t have the same feelings about Christmas like “western countries” (how they call it) obviously and they mostly just go out somewhere to celebrate, making their children dressed in Santa costumes or Santa caps at least – kids are being taught about these Holidays in schools now, however – some kids here can start crying if they see “big Santa” in shopping mall. Indians do also put Christmas trees in few public places but not as many as we are used to: it usually happens in shopping malls or some restaurants but not at city squares or streets and not at homes usually. Also decorations for Christmas trees apparently sold in much smaller quantities and people do not have many free days at work. Well, in Russia we have 10 to 14 free days in New Year time, so definitely not as many, 2-3 days usually and little more for children in schools.

The celebration of Christmas in India didn’t take on too large sizes and significance. New  Year’s also as well: on New Years Ave people mostly go out to celebrate too. Young people can go partying with their friends. So Christmas and New Year celebrations are considered some sort of fancy or modern things for many people (apart from Christian Indians I believe, though I have not met any yet).

In India, the most important holiday of the year is Diwali. It is traditionally a religious festival, it’s called the Festival of Lights. In some countries, people call Diwali as the Indian New Year, but the Indians themselves don’t agree with this description. Diwali is happening in November. During this holidays people here have a few days off and they spend it with their families and close people, give each other gifts, decorate almost all the buildings with garlands outside, and inside with candles and drawings of colored sand, fire up the fireworks (and not just for 5-10 minutes, but for several hours and even days, which leads to severe air pollution and different laws about this every year). So it is in many things similar to Christmas celebrations in Europe and New Year celebrations in Russia and Ukraine.

P.S.: These cute Santas in Indian style on the picture bought in  
Delhi Haat (To read about Delhi Haat please Click Here).

If you are interested how people in India do celebrate other Festivals, please Click Here.

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