Christmas is one among the many festivals that is celebrated with great pomp and fervor in India. Kerala has a huge community of Christians and in addition even the other communities join in the revelries making Christmas one of the important Kerala festivals. In fact, it can be said the enthusiasm and celebrations that Onam generates in the state, is revived again during Christmas.
Ways of Christmas celebrations in Kerala:
The Keralite, as the people of Kerala are referred, celebrate the festival in different ways.
- Delicacies: Every house goes a long way in making a Christmas spread. Fruits are soaked in rum or wine for many days to make the scrumptious plum cakes. The delicious Kerala Christmas cake is cut after the midnight mass to usher in the festival. Homemade wine, and several traditional dishes like Kappa biryani, Neyyappam, Unniyappam, Mutton stews, Achappam cookies, kappa stew Appams are served and shared among friends, neighbors and relatives.
- Baubles & Christmas trees: The festival is incomplete without the traditional Christmas tree. Families start their tree decorations with angels, candy, baubles, artificial snow and similar items. Parents and children sit together and indulge in home decorations with the Xmas star, colorful lights, wall hangings etc.
- Greetings: Although the tradition of posting greeting cards has been taken over by the modern day e-greeting cards, you can find children creating hand-made cards and give to their loved ones. Their designs and paintings are so cute that they bring smiles onto everyone’s faces. Christmas holidays in Kerala usually are for around 10 to 15 days and schools and colleges reopen after the new year.
- Carol Singing: Carols singing starts a few days before the festival. Carols groups are formed in local churches and they visit the residences and get the residents in to the festive spirit.
- Santa Claus: People, young and old, eagerly wait for Santa Claus. In most cases, Santa accompanies the carol groups and distributes gifts and chocolates to the families.
Places to visit in Kerala with Christmas Holidays:
If you are planning a vacation to south India, Kerala is truly the best place to celebrate Christmas. Some of the popular cities and attractions there are mentioned below
Have a wonderful time at the annual Cochin carnival and shop at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale making your holiday more remarkable. Enjoy the annual Indira boat race. You could visit several churches – Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Holy Coonan Cross Church, St. Francis, Malayattoor, St. George Ferona Church, St. George Orthodox Syrian Koonan Kurishu Church etc. There are also many pubs, discotheques and restaurants where you can while away your evenings.
Do your shopping and get good bargains at the Chalai market and Palayam market. You could visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, Madre de Deus Church, St. Joseph’s Cathedral etc.
Have a perfect holiday enjoying the beach life of Kovalam. The mornings are warm and bright though the nights are windy and cool. Have fun at the beach carnivals.
Munnar: Christmas is among the most important festivals in Kerala. Make it enjoyable by spending your Christmas at Munnar, one of the best hill stations in the country. Its amazing weather and the vegetation and plantation in the surroundings will add to the thrilling experience.
Kollam: The coastal town of Kollam has a lot of Christian community and they mix their celebrations in both traditional and contemporary way.
Each city has its own way of welcoming and celebrating the festival. Meet the locals there and enjoy their hospitality.