Is Christmas Eve A Public Holiday in India?
Christmas Eve in India is not a public holiday. This means it is observed as an optional holiday in almost every state of India. Hence, numerous schools, public dealing offices, universities, academic institutions, colleges, private sector enterprises can operate full-time or alter their dealing time accordingly. Employees can either work full day or ask for a half-day off as per their beliefs and practices.
On the other hand, shopping centres, stores, malls and other gifting stores remain open on the day of Christmas Eve since people in huge numbers visit such places to buy gifts for their loved ones along with decorative items. It is common for people to visit the Church and other religious establishments on this day, which is why an upsurge in the traffic and congestion can be witnessed. Therefore, go out accordingly and use the public transport services after going through the schedule. On the occasion of Christmas Eve, several schools and colleges organize plays depicting the birth of Jesus and fairs to mark the occasion as well.
Christmas Eve History in India
Christmas Eve history in India holds high significance and marks the solemn commemoration of its observance. The occasion of Christmas Eve commemorates the birth of the almighty Jesus Christ and is observed by both Eastern and Western Churches.
According to the beliefs of the Western Churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics observe the Midnight Mass at or before midnight on Christmas Eve. Children are seen singing carols, people decorate Christmas trees and houses, and plays depicting the Nativity Scene with Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus are portrayed in Churches. Followers of Lutheranism take the traditional path and host choirs, musicals, candlelight services and other programs on the night on Christmas Eve. The solemn Holy Communion is also carried out by Methodists.
According to the Byzantine Rite traditions, Christmas Eve is also known as Paramony by Christians. On this occasion, natives perform a strict fast throughout the day, and consuming any kind of edible item is considered forbidden until the visibility of the First Star. People carry out biblical celebrations, recite Old Testament verses and hymns such as Troparion of the Feast etc.
Christmas Eve Celebrations in India
Christmas Eve celebrations in India are carried out with full force, especially in particular states such as Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, and several Southern states in India. One of the significant and ritualistic ceremonies carried out in innumerable parts of India on this day is Midnight Mass, which is carried either before or at midnight on Christmas Eve. This is considered to be the first and foremost liturgy of the Christmas Week, and honors the scene of Nativity when Jesus Christ was born.
In India, and especially for Catholics residing in India, the service of Midnight Mass on the night of Christmas Eve is considered significant. The whole family is seen together and walking to the Mass in the Church. What followed is a massive feast, exchanging presents, spending time with loved ones and praying for their well-being. On this occasion, Churches are vividly decorated with Christmas Trees, statues of Santa Claus, candles, lights, Poinsettia flowers, Holly and Ivy, Mistletoe etc.
In several states of South India, people light earthen lamps and candles on the roof of their houses to mark this festive occasion. Doing so symbolizes the utter belief that Jesus Christ is the eternal light of this world and a ray of hope, positivity and happiness in life. In several regions, people decorate either a Mango or Banana tree with Diyas, lights, candles, flowers etc. and use Mango Leaves to decorate the main door of their houses.
Christmas Eve in Goa is celebrated with great fanfare and enthusiasm since a large percentage of Christians reside there. Therefore, huge “westernised” celebrations, parades, music fests, Christmas get-togethers, parties, prayer meets etc, are carried out throughout the whole week of Christmas. Catholics in Goa visit people’s houses, sing Carols and hymns, organize get-togethers and prepare delicious meals to be enjoyed together with loved ones.
Baking and sharing the fruity, nutty and enriching Christmas Cake is done on the night of Christmas Eve. Some of the local sweets prepared and devoured on the day of Christmas Eve in Goa are Dodol, a coconut-cashew toffee, Neureos, a fried and stuffed pastry, and much more. It is believed that sharing these sweets with your neighbours and loved ones deepen the love and bond shared and adds to the overall happiness and vibe. Houses are decorated with giant lanterns, electric lights, Star lanterns, flowers etc. Some also install huge statues and cut-outs of Santa Claus to welcome his quick stay.
Talking about food, some of the most delicious and meals prepared on the night of Christmas Eve are Roast Turkey, Chicken, Curries, Fried Rice etc. Sitting with everyone, reminiscing old days and remembering the Lord is a sight to remember. Then, the whole family walks to be a part of the Midnight Mass. In several Northwestern states of India, various Christians of the ethnic group Bhil visit the surrounding villages, sing Christmas carols and songs in their dialect and narrate the Christmas Nativity story while highlighting the significance of this occasion.
>br> In India, kids eagerly wait for Father Christmas or Santa Claus to arrive at night and give them something they have desired for a long time as a Christmas gift. He is known by several local names such as Christmas Baba, Baba Christmas, Natal Bua in Marathi, Christmas Thaathaa and Christmas Thatha in Tamil and Telugu respectively, Christmas Papa in Kerala and so on. Kids hang red socks and stockings and sleep while excitedly waiting for their gift from their beloved Santa Claus.
Christmas Eve Wishes & Greetings
Below are some of the Christmas Eve greetings you can use to wish your loved ones on the auspicious occasion:
- “Merry Christmas Eve, all! Hope your stockings are all bursting in the morning (and not with coal).”
- “Santa Claus and his reindeer might be zooming around the planet right now, but I hope your Christmas Eve is considerably less stressful. Merry Christmas Eve!”
- “I am moved when I think of baby Jesus’ birth, his parents brought him into this world in harsh conditions, but despite the difficulties they always stuck together as a family, let us follow their great example.”
- “Wishing you a blessed and beautiful Christmas Eve, as we celebrate God’s love and the great gift He gave us on the first Christmas.”
- “On this night, our Savior was born. May you feel God’s love all around you this Christmas Eve.”
Christmas Eve Observances
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1. Is Christmas Eve a bank holiday in India?
Christmas Eve is an optional bank holiday in India.
2. Is Christmas Eve the whole day?
Christmas Eve begins in the evening when people visit the churches for midnight masses and prepare for Christmas.
3. Where is Christmas Eve majorly observed in India?
Although Christmas Eve is observed nationwide in India, some regions such as Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and other South Indian states celebrate this occasion with great fanfare.
4. What is the traditional Christmas Eve meal in India?
The traditional Christmas Eve meal in India consists of meat curries, steamed rice cakes, bread, biryani, Christmas cake, and a long list of sweet and savoury items.
Christmas Eve Celebrations In Other Countries
- Christmas Eve in the US
- Christmas Eve in Australia
- Christmas Eve in Canada
- Christmas Eve Celebrations Around the World
From the above information, it is evident that the festival of Christmas Eve 2020 in India is observed on বৃহস্পতিবার, 24 ডিসেম্বর 2020 with great enthusiasm.
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