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Christmas

Christmas, celebrating the nativity of Jesus on 25th December is the most significant and spectacular of Christian festivals. No other celebration is so enriched with so many customs and ceremonies. There is an array of spectacles like Christmas Star, Christmas tree, the Crib, Christmas cake, Christmas presents and Father Christmas. The mood is set with the advent of the season by the twinkling of Christmas stars and there is no home nor shop without the Christmas star, the beautiful pointer to the Babe of Bethlehem.

The Christmas tree is a new feature in Kerala, perhaps less than sixty or seventy years old. The crib is a miniature production of the stable where Jesus was born. It developed from the old practice of giving dramatic expression to the events and the surroundings of the birth of Christ. Carols and songs developed from earlier nativity plays have become one of the most cheerful spectacles of the festivities. Priests hold mass in churches three times starting with the first at midnight. Just before the midnight mass, an image of the Child is brought by the priest, preceded by rows of Children holding lighted candles that are placed in the crib. The hymn 'Gloria in exelcis Deo' is sung amidst the explosion of crackers.

A sumptuous lunch including meat even in those homes which rarely eat it, is served. Cake has also become common in the villages where women have learned to make it. You could say that in Kerala, Xmas retains its homeliness and expresses itself in the cultural forms of the country without losing what is native to itself. And certainly in a manner and style which is quite unknown in the west.

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