December is here. It is that time of the year when each of us jumps into the vacation mood, and why not! After all, we have two big reasons for it. Christmas and the coming of the new year. As Christmas is approaching, streets are being lit up, Santa caps and socks are out for sale, Christmas trees have taken their place outside stores, and Christmas offers are all geared up to make us all feel extra Christmassy! Step out with your friends and family to make the most out of the vacation season during Christmas in India. A few places in the country are known for their unique and grandeur celebrations of this festival which you should definitely be a part of, atleast once.
There is no place in India that celebrates Christmas as much as Goa. It is home to over 400 churches and chapels. Here, not only are churches and chapels decorated beautifully but so are houses. Cribs are the main attraction in Goa which bursts with arts and creativity. It is the place where you can truly celebrate the festival’s traditions by visiting churches like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Immaculate Conception Church. You can also sing carols and hymns with the locals.
Besides this, Goa is also the place where you can party post-Christmas celebrations on any of the beaches. Firecrackers on the festival’s eve on the beaches are the main attraction in Goa.
This city holds some historic churches that go decades back. Many of the churches like Mount Mary’s Basilica, Bandra, Gloria Church, Byculla, and Saint Andrew’s Church are known for their Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. People from all over the city visit these churches for attending the midnight mass. In Mumbai, it is not just the Christian and Catholic community that celebrates the festival, but every Mumbaikar participates in celebrations in some or the other way.
One of the main attractions of the festival in Mumbai is street shopping. Popular street shopping spots in Mumbai like Bandra’s Hill or Linking Road, Colaba Causeway in South Mumbai, and Crawford Market in Fort sell Christmas items like Santa costumes, Christmas Trees and their decor, various kinds of attractive lighting, delicious treats, etc.
Mumbai is also known for its Christmas Parties which are organised by malls, bars and nightclubs. There are events like open mics and DJs for the disco to entertain the energetic crowds. Food and drinks are the cherries on the cake at these parties.
Churches in Kolkata are an architectural attraction. Going on a church walk on Christmas eve to explore how the city celebrates Christmas is a Christmas celebration in itself. You can join guided church tours that are organised by city-based heritage and walk groups. Some popular churches that you must visit are St Paul’s Cathedral, St John’s, St Andrew’s Kirk, Duff, St Stephen’s, Portuguese Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Mission Church etc.
Kolkata is known for festive dinners during Christmas. Long queues are found outside bars, cafes and restaurants. Don’t forget to try out the bakeries of Kolkata which are famous for their rich fruit cakes. Well-lit and decorated Park Street and Allen Park too are a must-visit during the festival.
The vibe in Shillong at the time of Christmas is magical. The place is all about traditional food, carols, and fruitcake. Bakeries are flooded with people tempted to devour seasonal delicacies. On Christmas eve families come together for a Christmas feast which involves delicious homemade traditional dishes. Known as the Music Capital of India, Shillong’s music cafes are also a must-visit.
An affordable and heartwarming place to visit in December is Pondicherry. The pleasant weather and beaches make Pondicherry a favourite destination of many, especially during winter. The Gothic churches and cathedrals are a sight to behold. You can take a tour around some of the old churches from colonial times, including The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels), the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, to see them in their full glory, especially at the time of Christmas. You can also head to these churches for the midnight mass.
So, when are you planning your Christmas vacation?