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14 Dec

Christmas in Kerala

Christmas is the festival of universal love and is celebrated with full of happiness and joy. Kerala is known to be the best destination in South India and is famous for celebrating Christmas. Kerala is certainly famous for its celebration of Onam with all the glitz and similarly, Kerala also loves to celebrate Christmas. Kerala celebrates Christmas with special Christmas cakes, lightning, presents, the crib, Christmas stars and all kinds of decoration just before the new year celebrations in Kerala

There are not many places in India where this festival is celebrated on such a scale. This is because Kerala is one of the regions in India where Christians are not a minority. Other areas are Goa, Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya. However, the only difference between Kerala and these other regions is the history of Christianity.

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It is believed that, Christianity was introduced to India by none other than one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, St. Thomas. Doubting Thomas is thought to have landed in Muziris in Kerala and during his stay established the famous seven and half churches in Kerala. During this period Christianity hadn’t even reached Rome, the so called seat of modern Christianity. These communities who were converted by Thomas still exist in Kerala. The famous Mar Thoma Church and Jacobite Church belongs to those first converts. Even today, they are widely practiced and attended churches in Kerala.

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The specialty of these churches is that the rituals are conducted in Syriac language. Later on, with the arrival of the Portuguese and other European powers in India, the Catholic Church became powerful and the Catholics became the largest community. Well, let’s leave behind the historical origins of Christians in India and Kerala and discuss about how Christmas is celebrated in the state.

Although Christmas is a religious festival, in Kerala, it is celebrated with a secular approach. This is evident not only from business and commercial perspectives, but also in the manner in which people participate in it. No matter the differences in religious beliefs, majority of the population decorates their houses at least by hanging a star or some lights and decorations. Even in New Delhi, India’s capital and one of India’s most modern and cosmopolitan cities, you cannot see this big concentration of stars and lightings during Christmas period. In addition, for shops and businesses in Kerala, Christmas along with Onam (Kerala’s state festival) are the two main seasons to make profits. Although, with globalization, satellite television and internet, Christmas period is hyped and mediatized by various business houses to attract more customers, the real essence of Christmas in India is limited to certain regions in the country.

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For the Christian community in Kerala, it is an occasion for family reunions. The festive mood in Christian families starts on 24th evening and ends with the midnight mass. Most of them prefer to attend the midnight mass so as not to get up early in the morning. Christmas day is an occasion for a big festive lunch, with alcohol and lots of different types of mostly non-vegetarian dishes. Towns and cities in Kerala are well decorated and lighted for the occasion, especially the big cities like Kochi, Calicut and Trivandrum. On Christmas Eve people usually go out either to stroll in the beaches and parks or to watch a newly released movie.

Well, the latest trend in Kerala is to visit shopping malls, which have shops, restaurants and even movie houses all in one building. Another thing which many of do is to visit various churches in the evening to see the lightings, decorations and cribs made for the occasion.

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Places to Visit in Christmas:

Kochi:

The city is known to celebrate Christmas with charm. You can see the beautiful homes and churches of Kochi decorated with ornamental lighting and Christmas trees. You can enjoy the Xmas packages with traditional and exotic food of Kerala. On the other hand, enjoy the traditional Christmas cakes on Christmas in Kerala. This is the time when Kochi also celebrates the shopping festival Kochi Muziris Biennale and Cochin Carnival, which will further make your Christmas celebration more colourful and enjoyable. This is the time when you can also enjoy the Indira Gandhi Boat Race. You can also visit the churches like Sanat Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Holy Koonan Cross Church, St.Francis Church, Koonankurishu Church, Malayattoor, St. George Ferona Church and many others in Kochin.

Trivandrum:

Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala with modern facilities. You can check out the L.M.S. compound during Christmas to see the beautiful decorations like hanging stars. Further, Chalai Market and Palayam market are two markets to enjoy Christmas shopping at its best. Some of the most popular places for cake in Trivandrum are Ambrosia, St. Michels, Salt n’ Pepper and The Christmas fair at Little Flower Hall. You can also visit the popular churches in Trivandrum; like St. Mary’s Cathedral, Madre de Deus Church, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and more. For mistletoe and wine; you can certainly visit Connemara!

Kovalam:

Kovalam is famous for its beaches and winter is the perfect time to visit Kovalam to enjoy the pleasant weather with bright sunny days and windy nights. You can enjoy your Christmas as well as you can also have the fun of attending the beach carnivals during the time.

Munnar:

If you love to visit the hill stations; then Munnar is the perfect place for you to celebrate Christmas. The place is known for its amazing weather and tea plantation. Munnar does not have snow falls during winters; which makes it a perfect place for celebrating Christmas with ease. The majestic green beauty of this place with the celebration of Christmas would certainly make your stay a memorable one. You can also visit the churches in Munnar; like Christ Church, Christian Shree and many more during Christmas.

Wayanad:
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Wayanad. Christmas is one of the major festivals in Wayanad. You can enjoy the beautiful sceneries of Wayanad and can also see the beautifully decorated houses of devotees as well as enjoy the beautiful musical carols.

Kollam
Kollam celebrates Christmas in its own colour. The fish workers in Kollam are known to be Catholic community who reside in the coastal areas and celebrate Christmas by taking out their families to the sea. This is a traditional way of celebrating Christmas where the elders take the younger generation to the sea to introduce them to the sea. You can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Kollam while can get to know people to know their traditional way of celebrating Christmas. You can also go to Lake Ashtamudi and to the Churches of Kollam to experience the beautiful Christmas celebration of Kollam.

Each city of Kerala celebrates its Christmas, in its own wonderful way. You can enjoy the different flavours and meet the beautiful people of Kerala on Christmas to make your Christmas an exotic one!

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