Sikkim is aptly named amongst one of the best winter holiday destinations in India. Lofty Himalayan peaks, sparkling lakes and crystal clear rivulets, all engulfed in the veils of snow, provide for a much fascinating sight to the travellers and vacationers visiting the state during freezing months of December and January. To this hypnotizing scenery, a dazzling aura of Christmas celebrations all around, simply add to the fun and excitement. Restaurants, pubs and clubs on MG Road in Gangtok remain open till late evenings, offering festive dinners and drinks to the holiday-makers. Needless to say, this is the best time for honeymooners too, providing them an opportunity to not only bask in the awe-inspiring beauty of the place but, also to witness in real-life, the unmatched festive aura of a hill-station that otherwise they would have only seen in pictures and movies.
History of the Festival
The festival of Christmas is being celebrated around the world for past many centuries. Primarily a religious and cultural fiesta for Christians, the day commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Jesus Christ, who is believed to have born in Bethlehem in the year 1 C.E.
Highlights & Important Rituals of the Festival
Celebrations for Christmas start almost a month in advance; Christians across the globe decorate their houses with lights and Christmas Trees. On the eve of 25th, people organize for Christmas parties and small get-togethers amongst family and friends; exchange of gifts and a visit by the loved Santa Claus, are some of the most common highlights of this beautiful festival and which are definitely looked forward to by the kids. 25th December early morning, people throng to the churches to offer candles and to be part of the mass prayers, which is further followed by festive lunch and drinks.
Duration of the Festival
The one day long festival is celebrated every year on 25th December around the world and Sikkim is no exception. While this tiny North East Indian state is pre-dominantly a Buddhist and Hindu state with the population of Christians merely about six percent, yet the festival of Christmas is celebrated with great joy and zeal by everyone. MG Road in Gangtok serves as a major host to the celebrations with streets, shops and homes decked up in stunning lights and decorations. All the natives and travellers are immersed in a jovial mood during this festive season of the year. What makes as the centre of attraction are the churches of ‘St. Thomas the Apostle Church’, ‘House of Grace Church’ and the ‘Bethlehem Fellowship Church’, organizing mass prayers accompanied with Christmas Carols and Food Carnival to be enjoyed by one and all.