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Christmas in India

Quick Facts

Many Christians celebrate Christmas Day, which is a gazetted holiday in India, on December 25 each year.

Local names

NameLanguage
क्रिसमस/ बड़ा दिनHindi
ChristmasEnglish
WeihnachtenGerman

Christmas 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014
Note: During a gazetted holiday, government offices and most businesses are closed so people have a day off work.
List of dates for other years

Many Christians in India celebrate Jesus Christ's birth on on Christmas Day, which is annually held on December 25. The celebrations are most noticeable in states where there are many Christians. Christmas Day is a gazetted holiday in India.

The Nativity scene represents the birth of Jesus.

©iStockphoto.com/Jim Jurica

What do people do?

Many Christians mark Christmas Day by attending special church services, spending time with family members, wearing new clothes and eating a festive meal. Some families exchange gifts or give small presents or sweets to children. They may display small electric lamps or small clay oil-burning lamps and decorate their homes with banana or mango leaves. Some also put up a nativity scene with clay figures or a Christmas tree. Christmas trees in India are usually imitation pine trees or branches of native trees or bushes.

Some stores and malls may put up Christmas decorations and have actors playing Santa. Christmas celebrations in tourist areas and hotels may be created to emulate how Christmas Day is celebrated in the countries where tourists and travelers are from.

Public life

National, state and local government offices, post offices and banks are closed on Christmas Day. Christian stores, businesses and other organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours. Those wishing to use public transport on the day may need to contact the local transport authorities to check on timetables.

Background

Many Christians remember Jesus Christ's birth when they celebrate Christmas Day, which is on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar. His actual birthday remains unconfirmed. Scholars think that Saint Thomas the Apostle introduced Christianity to the area that is now India around 52 CE. There are now around 24 million Christians in India. The states with the largest percentages of Christians are:

Christmas Day is widely celebrated in these states, but may be barely marked in others.

Symbols

Symbols of Christmas in India include:

These are just some examples how Christmas is symbolized in India.

About Christmas in other countries

Read more about Christmas.

Christmas Observances

Note: During a gazetted holiday, government offices and most businesses are closed so people have a day off work.
WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday type
SunDec 252005ChristmasGazetted Holiday
MonDec 252006ChristmasGazetted Holiday
TueDec 252007ChristmasGazetted Holiday
ThuDec 252008ChristmasGazetted Holiday
FriDec 252009ChristmasGazetted Holiday
SatDec 252010ChristmasGazetted Holiday
SunDec 252011ChristmasGazetted Holiday
TueDec 252012ChristmasGazetted Holiday
WedDec 252013ChristmasGazetted Holiday
ThuDec 252014ChristmasGazetted Holiday

Related holiday

Other holidays in December 2014 in India

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