The festival of universal love is here again.
Christmas, which is more than a festival is the solemn occasion
to remember Jesus, his life and ultimate sacrifice and his message
of compassion and brotherhood. The birth of Jesus Christ on December
25 each year sees a variety of customs and ceremonies.
To begin with there is the Christmas Star, the Christmas tree, the
Crib, the Christmas cake, presents, and of course, Christmas Father.
He is the star attraction for children and is quite a fascinating
personage, who claims above all to be the very embodiment of the
most vibrant and quintessence of the gayest of all the festivals.
With the children allowed to occupy the central stage, in the enchanted
company of Christmas Father, Christmas takes on the look of a festival
Though the Christmas tree is a comparatively
new addition to Christmas celebrations in Kerala, it is the twinkling
Christmas star put up at Christian homes or shops which sets the
tone for a season of cheerfulness and joy.
The crib is a miniature production of the
stable where Jesus was born. It developed from the old practice
of giving dramatic expression to the events and the surroundings
of the birth of Christ.
In cathedrals and churches, the nativity
of Jesus is enacted through miniature models. The hymn 'Gloria in
exelcis Deo' is intoned admidst the explosion of crackers.Carols
and songs developed from nativity plays are sung. Priests hold the
Holy Mass in churches at midnight.
Before the Mass begins, an image of the
child Jesus is brought out by the priest, preceded by children holding
lighted candles that are placed in the crib. Hymns are sung and
crackers are burst to signify the coming of Jesus Christ into the
Later in the day, there is a feast with
delicacies. Cakes are made at homes along with traditional Kerala sweets making Christmas a traditional Kerala festival.