Read about Christmas and its traditions in South Asia and South Asian Christmas customs.
Christmas in South Asia
We will discuss Christmas traditions and customs in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh here:
- In India, Christians decorate banana or mango trees, light small oil-burning lamps to decorate their homes and used red flowers to decorate their churches. Indians give Christmas gifts to friends and family and 'baksheesh' or charity to the poor. Blooming poinsettias are used in churches for Midnight Mass Christmas decorations. In South India, Hindu custom on Diwali to decorate rooftops and walls of the houses with lit clay lamps has been adopted by Christians for Christmas decoration for their homes.
- In Pakistan, 25th December is a public holiday in the memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. In Christian homes, Christmas is celebrated by wearing new clothes, visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts and cards. It is a must to attend the church service on Christmas day called 'Bara Din' or the 'Big Day.'
- In Bangladesh, which was once the East Pakistan, Christian villagers cut banana trees and replant them in pairs along the paths that lead from their homes to the Church. The leaves of the trees are bent to form an arch. Bamboo poles with oil-filled holes are tied to these arches. These bamboos burn to illuminate their way to the Church for the special service.