Christmas in India is celebrated with feasting, the decorating of trees, caroling and the giving of gifts. Although the population of India is largely made up of Muslims and Hindus, the small Christian population celebrates Christmas with many of the same traditions found around the world.
Gift giving is a popular tradition in India. Besides giving gifts to each other, Indians give charitable donations called baksheesh. Although traditional pine Christmas trees are rare in India, celebrants decorate banana and mango trees with garlands of colored palm fronds and jute rope. Green silk, orange bows and colored stones are placed throughout the tree as ornaments. Other Christmas decorations include clay oil lamps, candles and poinsettias.
Celebrants carol from house to house the week before Christmas and attend Christmas Eve dances and parties. Christmas Eve is also the time for Christmas shopping and midnight mass. Before bed, families light celebratory fire crackers.
Food is an important part of Christmas for Indians. Roast meat and vegetables are traditional Christmas meals. Pork, or vindaloo, served with raisins, almonds and rice is fairly typical Christmas Day fare. Desserts are a big deal here during the holiday season. Kulkul, nevryo, laddu and chakli are pastries served as dessert. They are dyed a festive red or pink color for the occasion.