In Kerala, the way of Christmas celebration exhibits the influence of Syrian and Western Christians. The state is known to add the flavour 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 season Christmas season. Attending the midnight mass is also a part of the tradition.
History of the Festival
It is believed Christianity came to India in 4th Century AD when St Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus visit Kerala. He preached about Jesus in Kerala and it is said a large number of people chose to becomes the follower of Christian faith. It is over the time that Christmas celebration became the part of Kerala.
Duration of the Festival
1 Day for Christmas. However, the celebration begins from the fourth sunday before the Christmas which is also known as the First Advent Sunday.
Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival
- In cathedrals and churches, the nativity scene is enacted through miniature models and plays.
- The hymn 'Gloria in Exelcis Deo' is sung along with other carols and songs.
- 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.