Traditional Christmas mass is celebrated at midnight, since it is believed that Christ was born at night. Christian or not, join the celebrations at the awesome place in India. After service, don’t forget to stay back and enjoy the Christmas bonfire, accompanied by fruit cake and piping hot coffee.
1) Goa Beach
Goa is home to over 400 churches, big and small, and there’s no better way to celebrate Christmas in Goa than by attending a midnight mass service. The Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Immaculate Conception Church are good options. Say a prayer, give thanks for your blessings and join others in singing hymns and carols. The Christmas Service usually starts at around 10 pm so get on time to grab a seat.
Not exactly a Christmas celebration, but the tradition of burning the old man tradition on New Year’s Eve is an age-old practice kept alive by native Goans even today. As the name suggests, several effigies resembling old men, made of hay and old clothes, are set on fire to signify the destruction of the worries and ills of the previous year. Money is usually collected by children to save for next year’s celebrations.
Head to the beaches of Goa and set out a blanket so you can sit back and watch fireworks lighting up the midnight sky on both Christmas and New Year’s eve. Popular North Goa beaches to watch fireworks at are Baga and Calangute while Colva and Bogmalo beaches are the ones to head to in South Goa. Impromptu dancing and parties dot the sand and everyone is welcome to join the revelry!
2) The Capital city Dehli
With Christmas almost around the corner, it certainly is the time to be jolly and why wouldn’t you be? Markets and malls are lit up, there’s that delicious waft of rum-soaked Christmas cake in the air and strains of Christmas carols can be heard everywhere you go. If you happen to be in Delhi for Christmas (I know I am), here are some experiences for you to enjoy this Christmas season.
Come December and Christmas markets spring up all around the city. One of the popular Christmas markets in the city is the German Christmas Market where you’ll find German Christmas cakes, German sausages and beer, apart from the usual gift items and Christmas decorations.
Another popular Christmas carnival in Delhi is the Kids Christmas carnival at Select Citywalk mall in Saket. The carnival has India’s largest Christmas tree (70 feet tall) and has several stalls where you can buy gifts, decorative items, winter wear, cakes and candles and sample different kinds of food. There are also workshops, games and performances for the little ones.
Christmas is a time for shopping for family and friends (and for yourself, of course!). Some of the best places to go shopping in Delhi during Christmas are Khan Market, Promenade Mall (Vasant Kunj), Select Citywalk (Saket) and South Extension market. You’ll find a nice mix of Christmas decorations—baubles, wreaths and tree ornaments—cakes, confectionary and gift items. And if you’re looking for a gift for friends with a sweet tooth, you can buy delicious Christmas cakes and puddings from Wengers (Connaught Place), Maison Des Deserts (Hauz Khas Village) and the The Oberoi Patisserie and Delicatessen (Zakhir Hussein Marg).
Travellers who are looking forward to going on a long vacation during this time of the year should go out to the land of nature and Ayurveda, Kerala. Indulge in a relaxing spa experience or look out to stay in the house boat on the backwaters, Kerala offers you a number of options to choose from. Ranging from hill station to the beaches to the gardens, you have it all. Just say what you want and you have it here. Christmas is very grandly celebrated in Kerala and so is the New Year, so you can start off your vacation from Christmas and extend it long till ringing in the next year.