Roohani Deshpande with
the giant Christmas tree
in the Alpha One Mall
in Amritsar, Punjab, India
NEW DELHI, India – Across India, Christmas celebrations have begun!
The birth anniversary of Lord Jesus Christ is a special occasion in India. A remarkable thing about India is that Christmas is not just celebrated by the Christian population residing in the country; it is also celebrated with much fanfare by other religious and cultural communities.
Everywhere, the atmosphere is cheerful and festive. Traveling around any city in India, one can observe brightly lit markets and roads, large Christmas trees, upbeat music and breathtaking decorations.
If lucky, one may even come across a person dressed up as Santa Claus in places like malls or shopping complexes.
Christmas is a particularly delightful time of the year for small children, who are often excited in anticipation of gifts from their beloved Santa Claus.
Many children write out their wishes on a piece of paper and place them under their pillows overnight. Usually they celebrate the occasion by wearing new clothes and eating festive meals.
Christmas is a time for socializing. Many families visit their neighbors or distant relatives and exchange gifts or small presents.
In private homes, people have their own versions of celebration. Many people light up their houses or work places and often have small social gatherings.
Most Christians attend church events and spend time with their family members. Others may prefer to hold a grand party with a large Christmas tree and gifts for children. Such parties may involve a large number of friends and family members, music and dance, Christmas carols and more.
The essence of this festival lies in the way it spreads joy among people.
Everywhere, people wish each other "Merry Christmas" to brighten up their day just a little more. It is a day when people put aside all their troubles or grudges.
India is a land with vast cultural and religious differences, but this festival has a way of bringing us all together as one human family.