Is Christmas celebrated in India?

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Arran90
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Is Christmas celebrated in India as a national / secular / commercialised event by large numbers of people who are not Christian, or is it an event largely observed only by Christians?
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wazzupitsme
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It's a mix of both, I must say. India, despite being home to a large number of different religions, manages to celebrate every religion's events with equal importance. That's why all across India, in most states except those having 90% of the population following a single religious belief, holidays are given during christmas season and is widely celebrated by all people. Most people now celebrate it as a seasonal event.

It isn't entirely a national or a secular event because some states, like I mentioned before, choose to not celebrate christmas and most people irrespective of reliogion consider it as a time for celebrating with people and partying. It isn't much of a commercialised event as well, though with the number of concerts/parties/buffets offerred by businesses during christmas to attract all kinds of people may make it seem as such. If you talk about the actual importance of christmas i.e. celebrating the birth of Jesus, it would only be primarily acknowledged by the christian community alone-just as in any other country.

So, in conclusion, it is neither celebrated alone as a national event or a secular event or a commercialised event or only by cristians. It's a mixture that doesn't make it any different from other countries.
Last edited by wazzupitsme; 11 months ago
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Arran90
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I assumed that Christians in India celebrated Christmas as a predominantly religious event, as they have done so for centuries, but outside of Christian families and communities it is a relatively low profile event - a bit like St. George's Day in England. Indian people are aware that the day exists but it's not really celebrated or considered special by non-Christians.

What made me ask the question was recently encountering two Christmas themed episodes in an Indian cartoon

https://youtu.be/PmPOzCWcP7U

https://youtu.be/tEIKvJQxxvI

The cartoon depicts Christmas as a secular event with decorations, Christmas trees, lights, Father Christmas in his Coca Cola red outfit, presents, and having a merry time to the tune of popular Christmas songs. Prominent features of modern day Christmas in Britain that are alien and unrecognisable to Christians from many centuries ago. Nowhere does it mention Jesus or the Nativity.

This made me wonder whether Christmas celebrated this way is now sufficiently entrenched into the culture and lifestyle of modern day India to warrant making a cartoon about it. If this is the case then:

1. How did Christmas make its inroads into India as a secular and fun event with barely anything of religious significance for non-Christians?

2. How do Christians in India who have been celebrating Christmas as a religious event view non-Christians celebrating Christmas as a secular and fun event?
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wazzupitsme
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To answer your questions;

1. I think the fact that in the 21st century, people are more open towards accepting other religious practices that do not significantly relate to them. While festivals such as Eid and Diwali that belong to the Muslim and Hindu religions respectively may not be as widespread as Christmas celebrations in the country are, more and more people are beginning to take it in as a secular event. And not sound narcissistic, but the same happens across most nations, inclusive of Britain, wherein even aethists fancy exchanging gifts and having fun and this strongly influenced the younger people(aged below 45) to take up an equal stance on the topic in India. As for the cartoons, they go hand in hand with the whole, 'secular event' prospect.

2. I don't honestly think they mind. I've always found Christians to be more willing to include others irrespective of their religion because to many Christians Christmas is nowadays starting to be less and less about the religious significance towards the birth of Jesus and more about it being something like Halloween where its all about celebration and nothing beyond it holds. Those Christians who celebrate devotedly would mind it a bit more because it signifies something really important while others turn it into something else-but apart from that they are ever-ready to invite people over to partake in the celebration with them.
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Arran90
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(Original post by wazzupitsme)
1. I think the fact that in the 21st century, people are more open towards accepting other religious practices that do not significantly relate to them. While festivals such as Eid and Diwali that belong to the Muslim and Hindu religions respectively may not be as widespread as Christmas celebrations in the country are, more and more people are beginning to take it in as a secular event. And not sound narcissistic, but the same happens across most nations, inclusive of Britain, wherein even aethists fancy exchanging gifts and having fun and this strongly influenced the younger people(aged below 45) to take up an equal stance on the topic in India. As for the cartoons, they go hand in hand with the whole, 'secular event' prospect.
A notable difference between Britain and India is that India does not have a large population of people who are notionally Christian or not religious but of Christian origin like Britain does. The majority of the population of Christians in India are reasonably practising, so Christmas is first and foremost a religious celebration for them. As for the non-Christians in India they have their own religious celebrations along with secular national celebrations, which technically reduces the demand for Christmas as a secular and fun celebration, whereas notional Christians and people who are not religious in Britain really don't have any other big celebrations in the calendar which explains why so many of them celebrate Christmas as a fun event.

2. I don't honestly think they mind. I've always found Christians to be more willing to include others irrespective of their religion because to many Christians Christmas is nowadays starting to be less and less about the religious significance towards the birth of Jesus and more about it being something like Halloween where its all about celebration and nothing beyond it holds. Those Christians who celebrate devotedly would mind it a bit more because it signifies something really important while others turn it into something else-but apart from that they are ever-ready to invite people over to partake in the celebration with them.
Are Christians in India comfortable about large numbers of non-Christians celebrating Christmas as a fun event, or do they feel that they have hijacked Christmas and celebrate it in a way that most Christians do not? I would be interested in any information from Christians in India about this. Is the Christmas celebrated by Christians in India and the Christmas celebrated by the non-Christians in India actually two distinct and parallel celebrations which take place on the same day?
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wazzupitsme
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(Original post by Arran90)
A notable difference between Britain and India is that India does not have a large population of people who are notionally Christian or not religious but of Christian origin like Britain does. The majority of the population of Christians in India are reasonably practising, so Christmas is first and foremost a religious celebration for them. As for the non-Christians in India they have their own religious celebrations along with secular national celebrations, which technically reduces the demand for Christmas as a secular and fun celebration, whereas notional Christians and people who are not religious in Britain really don't have any other big celebrations in the calendar which explains why so many of them celebrate Christmas as a fun event.



Are Christians in India comfortable about large numbers of non-Christians celebrating Christmas as a fun event, or do they feel that they have hijacked Christmas and celebrate it in a way that most Christians do not? I would be interested in any information from Christians in India about this. Is the Christmas celebrated by Christians in India and the Christmas celebrated by the non-Christians in India actually two distinct and parallel celebrations which take place on the same day?
I get it but it feels like it is a very generic view that most people outside India hold when they think that Indians hold priority for their religious events and turn their noses at the others that don't belong to theirs when reality it doesn't happen so. There have been too many, too many speculations or controversial debates on - why, when someone holds up their religion at utmost reverence would they accept to being a part of celebrating another religion's festival? This comes across especially in Asian countries where multiple religions exist and some of these are exclusive to certain countries alone as well. While strongly religious countries may exist on other continents, they tend to follow Christianity or any of its subforms. This is quite obviously the cause for confusion in many people. But the notion is different, nowadays instead of treating it wholly as a religious celebration it is celebrated as a secular event to bring a sense of unity and equality of sorts and this isn't for Christmas alone but for Eid, Diwali, Easter, Dussehra, Start of the Islamic new year, St. Peter's day and so on. As for the Brits celebrating Christmas as a fun day, it isn't shocking or surprising by any means because for a quite a long time people in many countries inclusive of Britain have been reducing their religious activities and eliminating their beliefs on a whole- if anything 50% of the kids in Britain wouldn't know the connection of christmas and the nativity, they only know about santa and getting presents.

Christians at large are VERY comfortable with others celebrating Christmas as a fun event though the old people may frown it(as always). I am an Indian and a Christian and while I've never lived there in my lifetime, I've definitely visited during vacations and Christmas time in special. There is never parallel holiday celebrations that take place in India, others may not attend church like the Christians do but everyone takes part in the celebrations hosted by the church itself for Christmas in the form of fairs, dancing, santa parades, food, drinks, etc.
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Arran90
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(Original post by wazzupitsme)
I get it but it feels like it is a very generic view that most people outside India hold when they think that Indians hold priority for their religious events and turn their noses at the others that don't belong to theirs when reality it doesn't happen so. There have been too many, too many speculations or controversial debates on - why, when someone holds up their religion at utmost reverence would they accept to being a part of celebrating another religion's festival? This comes across especially in Asian countries where multiple religions exist and some of these are exclusive to certain countries alone as well. While strongly religious countries may exist on other continents, they tend to follow Christianity or any of its subforms. This is quite obviously the cause for confusion in many people. But the notion is different, nowadays instead of treating it wholly as a religious celebration it is celebrated as a secular event to bring a sense of unity and equality of sorts and this isn't for Christmas alone but for Eid, Diwali, Easter, Dussehra, Start of the Islamic new year, St. Peter's day and so on.
The secularisation of religious events followed by people who follow other religions celebrating them in one form or another is a relatively recent (definitely since 1945) phenomenon and one potentially fraught with controversy by people on both sides of the event.

The secular way of celebrating Christmas as depicted in the cartoons is an import from western nations and has probably largely bypassed the Christian communities in India on its way to becoming a secular celebration.

As for the Brits celebrating Christmas as a fun day, it isn't shocking or surprising by any means because for a quite a long time people in many countries inclusive of Britain have been reducing their religious activities and eliminating their beliefs on a whole- if anything 50% of the kids in Britain wouldn't know the connection of christmas and the nativity, they only know about santa and getting presents.
You have to bear in mind that in Britain there is the 'heritage' effect in that Christmas has been celebrated for centuries and many of the Christmas customs date from the mid 19th century as well as the UK being one of a small number of countries with no national day and the lack of any other big celebrations in the calendar. The combination of these phenomena has almost certainly worked in a way that favours the commercialisation of Christmas in proportion to the general decline in (active) Christianity. If however a prominent secular national celebration had existed in the calendar for as long as anybody can remember then Christmas could today be a less commercialised and lower profile event in a similar way to modern day Easter.

Christians at large are VERY comfortable with others celebrating Christmas as a fun event though the old people may frown it(as always). I am an Indian and a Christian and while I've never lived there in my lifetime, I've definitely visited during vacations and Christmas time in special. There is never parallel holiday celebrations that take place in India, others may not attend church like the Christians do but everyone takes part in the celebrations hosted by the church itself for Christmas in the form of fairs, dancing, santa parades, food, drinks, etc.
The secular way of celebrating Christmas as depicted in the cartoons would be recognisable to anybody who has lived in Britain but it would be almost unrecognisable to Christians from centuries ago. Do Christians in India find large numbers of non-Christians celebrating Christmas in this way as an abomination or even grotesque? Notice that there were no churches featured in the cartoons so Christian leaders did not hold any control over the event.
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