By Sushant Dewan, a 25-year-old MBA International Business student from New Delhi, India

Christmas in New Delhi, India

Millions of Indians are celebrating Christmas throughout the country. With 24 million followers, Christianity is India’s third-largest religion. Christians comprise 2.3 per cent of the country’s population.

There is no death of celebration in Delhi – India’s capital – but December offers more festivity than most months; December brings with it Christmas, and new beginnings and plans for the New Christmas in BirminghamYear. Offices are shut, markets and malls are lit-up, and restaurants get creative with their menus.

The main celebrations of Christmas take place on the Christmas Eve. Families and friends gather and usher in Christmas together. Celebrations of Christmas are marked by carols, cakes, candles and decorating the Christmas tree. Christmas Day, called ‘Bada Din’ (Big Day) in Hindi, is a national holiday in India and people from all religions join their Christian friends to make the most of the joyous celebrations. All the churches of Delhi, especially the Sacred Heart Cathedral are beautifully lit up and decorated during this period. Many hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and banquet halls in Delhi organise parties for Christmas.

The Christmas holiday in Delhi is also a time for shopping, enjoying and partying. Plus, celebrations in New Delhi are incomplete without Santa Claus. Days before the actual festival, Santa Clauses can be seen roaming around and distributing gifts at a number of places.

One of the main markets of Delhi, Connaught Place, puts on a special Christmas Carnival sale. Christmas markets spring up all around Delhi. One of the popular markets in the city is the German Christmas Market, where you’ll find German Christmas cakes, German sausages and beer, alongside the usual gift items and Christmas decorations.

 

Christmas in Birmingham, UK

CChristmas treehristmas has become one of my favourite times of the year after coming to the UK. People of all nationalities and religions come together to celebrate the magic of Christmas. There are decorations all around Birmingham – in the streets, in shop windows and on people’s houses.

There is a beautiful outdoor ice rink that is specially put up at this time of year. Even if you haven’t been ice skating since you were young, I guarantee that you will have fun!

Most families have a Christmas tree in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping. Almost an entire city is decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. Often a famous person switches them on. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are along Oxford Street in London.

Like a lot of countries, Nativity plays and carol services are also very popular at Christmas time. The church that I went to always has a ‘carols by candlelight’ service, where the church is only lit up by candles. It is a very special service and always makes me feel very Christmassy!

The Frankfurt Christmas Market brings a festive buzz to the city streets in Birmingham and there are suddenly lights everywhere to lift dark winter days. It is a major attraction where you can find interesting and unique gifts, taste Christmas food such as mince pies and mulled wine, and you can often hear carol singing.

In the UK, the main Christmas meal is normally roast turkey, roast vegetables and ‘all the trimmings’, which means vegetables like carrots and peas, stuffing and sometimes bacon and sausages. It’s often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Dessert is often Christmas pudding. Mince pies and lots of chocolates are often eaten as well!

If you are studying in UK and you cannot go back to your country for Christmas, why not get together with other students who are in the same boat as you and have your own Christmas celebrations? Even if you do not usually celebrate Christmas, you can get into the festive mood and have a nice meal, pull Christmas crackers and give small gifts to your friends.

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