| Christmas celebrations in urban areas
are very similar to those in the West. Streamers, lights, balloons and buntings
are used to add a festive look to shopping centers. Special discounts, bargain
offers and bonuses are offered to make shopping more attractive. Friends and relatives
Santa Claus distributes gifts and sweets to children. Singing carols is also part
of the ritual. It is customary for families to eat Christmas dinner together.
Elaborate puddings, special cakes and wine are prepared. Roasted chicken takes
the place of the stuffed turkey of the West, for the meal. In the coastal regions,
people have fish. In the tribal and rural areas of India, the menu is very different.
Cakes made of rice flour and bananas form part of the ceremonial feast. As a gesture
of goodwill, these confections are sent to homes, which are in mourning. Women
also make thekudas and namkeens.
In some parts of southern India, payas is distributed among friends and relatives.
Carol singing is also popular, but it is accompanied by rhythmic dancing. The
dance forms vary from region to region. In the eastern states of Bihar, Assam,
Manipur and Nagaland, it is customary to intersperse the feast with tribal dances.
Among the orthodox, prayers and purificatory rites commemorate the festival. Some
sections of the Roman Catholics forsake eating meat during the period known as
the Advent, from the first to the 25th of December.