In Kerala, the way of Christmas celebration exhibits the influence of Syrian and Western Christians. The festival of Christmas is celebrated here with great pomp and show. The state is known to add the flavor of local traditions that includes preparation of some exotic delicacies to keep the celebrations even more interesting. Like in other Christian countries, the preparation for Christmas begins from the starting of the month of December. People prepare dry fruit cakes that are exchanged round the Christmas season and enjoy feasts with friends and relatives. Attending the midnight mass is also a part of the tradition. Carol groups visit people’s houses especially in the countryside. People also decorate their houses with colorful lights, cribs and Christmas trees.
Christianity in Kerala
It is believed Christianity came to India 52 AD when St Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus visited the ancient seaport of Muziris in Kerala coast. He preached about Jesus in Kerala and it is said a large number of people chose to become followers of Christian faith. Another important source which shows the arrival of Christianity in Kerala are the acts of St Thomas which is a text about the adventures of Thomas in bringing Christianity to India. It is said that Thomas of Cana arrived in Kerala in the 4th century AD and It is over the time that Christmas celebration became a part of Kerala in a better way.
Duration of the Festival
1 Day for Christmas. However, the celebration begins from the fourth Sunday before Christmas which is also known as the First Advent Sunday.
Delicacies of Kerala in Christmas
People of Kerala enjoy the festival of Christmas a lot. What makes it special is the session of eating, drinking and merrymaking. There are so many delicacies to try in Kerala at Christmas. Some of the most popular delicacies are -
- Plum Cake
- Kallappam and Chicken Stew
- Pallappam and Duck Roast
- Pidi and Kozhi Curry
- Kuzhalappam and Acchapam
- Beef Cutlet and Challas
- Bread and fish Molee
- Munthiri Wine
- Acchapam Cookies
- Kappa Stew
- Chicken and Mutton Stews
Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival
- In cathedrals and churches, the nativity scene is enacted through miniature models and plays.
- The hymn 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' is sung along with other carols and songs in local churches and congregation homes.
- A midnight mass is held on Christmas and prior to the beginning of the mass, an image of the child Jesus is brought out by the priest.
- On the Christmas day people exchange gifts and host luncheons and dinners for which they prepare traditional dishes like Acchapam cookies, Unniappam, Neyyappam, Kappa stew, Kappa biryani, Chicken or Mutton stews and Appams.