Angela and Salijk are Indian-natives, studying French in Paris (France). In their own French words, they introduce us to local customs surrounding Christmas time in their country.
‘India is a vast, multicultural and multireligious country, with three predominating religions: Hinduism, Christianity and the Islamic religion. Each religion has its main celebration. Christmas time is a big celebration for Christian people. When you think of it, Christmas times means joy and hope in everyone’s heart.
This event is prepared as of the beginning of December. We send Christmas cards to our friends and families. We thoroughly clean the house. We get Christmas decorations and clothes. We also bake cakes and cook goodies that are specific to the country. In each area of India, a special meal is served on Christmas Day.
Christmas time is the moment to think of others. All parishes offer various activities to children, adults and poor people. They organize variety shows for the adults and games for the kids. Everyone offers something or money to the poor. Two weeks before Christmas Day, chorals including youngters and adults sing Christmas carols.
On 24 December, all Christian people attend the midnight mass. On Christmas Day (25 December), people visit their friends and exchange gifts, spending time talking. On Christmas Day people also eat special foods specific to either the country, or the area place where they live.
Children do many things at school. They sing and play, passing on the Chrismas message to their Hindu and Muslim friends. They also decorate their classroom and prepare the crib which will stand in front of the school.’
Angela and Salijk