“Jingle bells Jingle bells Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride on a one horse open sleigh…”
This is a Christmas song that everyone loves to hear and sing not only during Christmas season but also throughout the year. Christmas falls on 25th December every year and is marked by holidays, exchange of gifts, shopping, charity and merry making. The midnight of 24th December was born the savior of the world in Jerusalem to parents Mary and Joseph. A midnight mass is held all over the world in churches, chapels and basilicas. Christians attend the midnight mass with full enthusiasm and devotion.
Picture1 – A church in Goa
At homes cribs are built and decorated. A baby doll, representing infant Jesus is placed inside the crib. Cakes and cookies are baked; sweets are prepared and distributed to neighbors and friends.
Elaborate shepherd homes depicting the place of birth of Jesus Christ are built in Churches along with life size statues of Joseph, Mary and shepherds.
Picture3 – Baked Christmas Goodies
Decorated Christmas trees adorn homes. The custom of decorating Christmas trees is traced back to 16th century in Germany. The tree is a coniferous tree and it can either be a real one or an artificial tree. It is decorated with bulbs, streamers, bells and a star at the top representing the angels. The star on top of the tree is known as the star of Bethlehem. Gifts are arranged below the tree and exchanged on Christmas Day.
Picture4 – Shops selling Christmas Trees and other decorative items
Another custom of Christmas cheer is that if any two people meet by chance under a hanging mistletoe is obliged to kiss each other. This custom is Scandinavian in origin.
Picture5 – Santa Claus
Father Christmas popularly known as Santa Claus adds a mystic touch to the festival. He is a mythological character and the children are made to believe that if they behave well throughout the year Santa Claus will gift them the things they desired during Christmas. They are told that Santa will tuck their goodies in a stocking hung in the room on Christmas Eve. Children wait and pray that Santa brings them their gifts.
Picture6 – A thoughtful stocking hung on the door knob at “The Fern” hotel in Jaipur
The spirit of Christmas is so infectious that everyone irrespective of religions joins in the celebrations. I remember in school, we would all be taken in a queue to the beautifully decorated chapel and treated to cakes. We would also sing “Silent Night….Holy Night…All is calm…” solemnly.
Many songs have been written and sung by famous singers on Christmas. Most of them have been chart busters. Christmas Carols are sung in churches on Christmas Eve. Christmas Joy, Christmas spirit, Christmas holidays, Santa Claus, Snow Fall, Angels, Christmas cakes……..is what Christmas is all about.
So, here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.