Kerala is well known as “God’s own country”, a state in the southern part of India, blessed with all the natural gifts of mountains, hills, valleys, long seashores, forests, rivers and waterfalls.
In the third week of December, irrespective of town or village, all the places are well decorated, the insides and outsides of the homes are brightened by star-light hangings on the trees and top of the houses/buildings.
It is a season for SALE (discount offers) in almost all the shops, firing up the shopping mood. All the churches, chapels, shops etc. are decorated to welcome Christmas. All the schools, colleges, etc will be closed for the Christmas vacation – approx. 10 days of holidays. Children are on their toes to celebrate the holidays. They make the whole period wonderful by engaging themselves in decorating the homes, hanging the stars, preparing the crib and Christmas tree, playing with fireworks etc.
All the churches have midnight Mass on Christmas Eve (midnight of 24th December), the next day is celebrated with Joy. All the catholic families attend the masses in their respective parish without fail and it always makes a big crowd in the churches although mass is held throughout the day. All the catholic homes without exception will celebrate Christmas in their homes after the midnight mass by cutting the Christmas cake after a small prayer by the eldest of the house and distributing the cake and wine amongst themselves, and thereafter a delicious dinner with all family members and relatives. The Christmas carol team will start visiting the houses and public places after the midnight mass.
The celebrations slow down gradually till the end of the holidays. The memories of old Christmas celebrations are something very special to keep with.