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Festivals - Christmas 2013
 
Christmas is believed to be a western festival. There have been age long debates on whether or not India had Christianity as a religion before the European invasion. Whichever be the case, it seems easier to believe that Europeans brought Christianity to the country. However, even if it did exist before they came, surely the customs must not have been similar as that of the Europeans. Today what we see, especially in urban India, is without doubt an adaptation of the western celebration; in an Indianized way. But wherever it came from, it brings us a time of sheer happiness and togetherness. Celebrated on the 25th day of the month of December every year, Christmas is celebrated with much pomp and show. It marks the birth of Jesus Christ, savior of mankind. Every family, Christian or non-Christian, revel in the merriment and indulge in activities to enjoy the Yuletide.

History
Christmas is signified as the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was believed to be the son of God, born as a human. The story goes back to the first book in 'The Bible' where Adam and Eve committed their first sin. The only consequence of sin was death. It was then told by God that a savior will be born to save humankind from sin. Birth of Jesus Christ is most important event in the entire Christian mythology. This is why Christmas is said to be the only festival of the Christians. According to the Bible, Mary was engaged to marry Joseph who was a carpenter. But one day an angel visited her and told her that she will conceive a child and she is to name him "Jesus". He was born near a village called Bethlehem. Since they were traveling at that point of time, they had no place to stay. So Jesus was born in a stable nearby. The western, which is the universal, dating system, is based on this very event. B.C means Before Christ and A.D. meaning Anno Domini which means "the year of our Lord" according to the Gregorian calendar. So 2000 A.D. mean 2000th year of our Lord. Stating this against the secular nature, today the international use of this system has been rejected. It is replaced by C.E. and B.C.E. (Common Era and Before Common Era).

Celebrations and Rituals
Christmas is the season of holiday in most countries. In Europe it is also the season of shopping. People shop like crazy during Christmas. That is why it is also the season of gifts! It is time to get together and spend some quality family time. The celebrations start on Christmas Eve, otherwise, the evening before Christmas. People usually sit up till 12 to wish each other "Merry Christmas!" The house is decorated with Christmas tree, bells, angels, lights and so on. Christmas morning all the children run to the Christmas tree to find the gifts that "Santa Clause" might have left for them. People make tarts and cakes. Plum cakes are the most famous during Christmas. Indian urban celebrations might vary a little in terms of food and clothing, but the spirit of the festival more or less remains the same. In Hindi, Christmas is known as Bada Din.

Commonly Celebrated
The exact date and month of the birth of Christ is not known to anyone. But owing the importance of the event in Christianity it was given a date. December 25th is celebrated as the birthday of Christ. Christmas was dominantly celebrated in the West. But today, it is celebrated throughout the world in many different ways. All regions put their own flavors together with the conventional rituals and celebrate Yuletide in their own unique way.
 
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