It's Christmas eve! That time of the year when we all come together and celebrate, and the festive spirit is on a high.
True that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ a bit differently from the western variations, but that doesn't mean we don't do it well. Christmas is the season of lights and colours, of giving and receiving, of cakes and carols and angels and Santa - and we in India do it all - with a desi twist! From Kerala to Assam, from the Northeast to Bombay, the whole country gets together in festive spirit celebrating in their own way. So if you don't know what you're doing this year, don't be confused.
Here are 12 places to celebrate Christmas in India, that will surely make your holiday season special.
The party lovers paradise, Goa, shines in all its glory during the Christmas season. Goa is home to quite a number of Christians, and during the festival, the city is adorned with vibrant lights and poinsettia flowers, while the masses sing Christmas carols until early morning. The parties at Anjuna, Candolim and Mapusa continue through the night making it just the perfect mix of tradition and fun.
2. Daman and Diu
With its rich colonial influence, Daman and Diu celebrates Christmas with a Portuguese flavour. Daman and Diu has a different charm during Christmas. With the varieties of cultural shows organised here, enigmatic Corrindinho Portuguese dance forms, vibrant lamps brightening the night sky, and implausible church service, it is by far one of the best places to spend Christmas day.
Christmas in Kerala is surely not the same as any other place around the country. Imagine spending your festival among backwaters, coconut trees and nature till infinity. There are many churches in Kerala that are beautifully decorated with lights and stars, and there are heavy discounts on hotels for welcoming tourists to be a part of the celebrations. The local touch enhances the spirit of the festival here with the Cochin Carnival, that continues for 10 days and will surely make coming back home painful!
The city that has wholeheartedly embraced all the diverse cultures of India, Mumbai is a wonderful place to celebrate Christmas. Hill Road, Bandra and Church Gate are popular places where Christmas is celebrated with immense enthusiasm and fervour. Almost all churches around the city organise a midnight mass. And besides that, there are raging parties in most night clubs around the city. Mumbai is the place that can cater to your palette no matter the kind of person you are.
5. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
This is probably the best time to visit Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The place adorns itself in the festive mood and what is most interesting is the celebration of Christmas with a tribal touch. Midnight mass is organised in all local churches and the people celebrate with pomp and grandeur. The entire Union Territory fizzes with warmth, zeal and enthusiasm, and makes sure your Christmas will be well worth it.
Christmas fan and a big foodie? Then this is your perfect destination. Bangalore is sure to satisfy your appetite along with providing some wow Christmas celebrations. While there are kick-ass Christmas cuisines available throughout the city, the central parts boasts of enigmatic churches influenced by British and French art. What more could you want?
The tribal Christians wait for this joyous occasion all year long. The hilly towns of the Northeast lurking in the winter mist come alive with celebrations during Christmas. The streets are decorated to almost make it look like a bride. With midnight mass being held in every nook and community meals in every corner, the picture of traditional Christmas in the hills is no less than a Christmas card! A perfect place to feel the Christmas celebrations and the chill.
Vivacious Delhi gets yet another reason to party in December. The Christian localities are shimmering with lights during during the season and the entire city is humming to festive tunes. Yes, Delhi might not be a Christian majority city, but the celebrations are at peak throughout the city! The Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Capital City Minstrel choir concert is the best way to explore the traditional aspect of Christmas in the capital city.
The City of Joy joyfully embraces Christmas celebrations. Park Street comes to life with lights and stars and decorations that just nail the Christmas mood. The streets are lined with pubs and bars that remain open all night long! Sweet Christmas delights are found at it's best at Flury's. The St Paul's Cathedral organises a midnight mass and the sweet sound of carols can be heard reverberating from quite some distance. And further down at the bow barracks, the Anglo-Indian communities celebrate in traditional style. With a perfect blend of parties and customs Kolkata nails the Christmas feel.
Shimla has a sizeable Christian population that celebrates a joyous Christmas. Since there are not many tourists found at this time, the hills offer a peaceful yet fun Christmas. The streets, houses and churches are decorated with shimmering lights; people prepare traditional cuisine and spend time signing carols and hymns in the evening. Some of the churches also have local bands playing the gospel music.
With the perfect blend of French tradition and the beauty of Christmas, Pondicherry is a paradise during this festive period. Clean and calm beaches, wonderfully built churches and flawless glances of French culture, Pondicherry is the perfect candidate as the Christmas vacation destination in India.
Christmas and snow are beautifully intertwined, enhancing the spirit of the festival. There can possibly be no words to exaggerate the beauty of the hill station during Christmas. The exotic pine trees, resembling a Christmas tree, are beautifully adorned in snow, lights and accessories, which is a sight to behold during the night. You may also book a log hut to live Christmas mood under the beautiful star-lit sky.