Christmas in Chennai
Christmas festival is celebrated in Chennai with a verve and tempo of setting the footsteps in line with the messages of Jesus Christ to humankind. Jesus Christ’s words on brotherhood, kindness, tolerance, love, and His message of giving and forgiving take prominence in everybody’s heart. Churches put up the festive lighting, mini lamps, and lantern-like and series lighting decorations from the beginning of December as a sign of arrival of Christmas.

The local Tamil traditions, customs and cultural twist to the Christmas celebrations make it more interesting and special as seen from the standpoint of native Western celebrations of Christmas. The use of banana leaves and mango leaves for Christmas decorations in Chennai and other Southern Indian states make it very unique by blending the local religious traditions with those of the Western traditions connected with this festivity.

Christmas Traditions in Chennai 

On Christmas Eve and on the Day of Christmas, people engage in religious services in Church, carol singing, bible reading, and offering prayers to the Almighty. People take pleasure in wearing new outfits and exchanging pleasantries as well as Christmas and New Year wishes. Christmas tree decorations, hanging huge star lamps in front of the house or in the front yard, lighting the mud lamps at rooftops are some of the traditions associated with Christmas Day celebrations and commonly observed in Chennai.

Using banana leaves and mango leaves for decorations at the entrance of the home is also a common practice, which is a typical Tamil culture that has found its way into celebrating Christmas. Marigold, rose, and jasmine flowers are used to decorate the wreaths in some households.

Christmas Celebrations at Hotels and Malls

The star hotels and the shopping malls are decorated and glitter in all splendour. The star hotels offer special four-course or five-course buffet for lunch and dinner. They also offer options for brunch. The delicious food stuff for brunch, lunch or dinner exhibit the Christmas themes and flavour.  Some hotels also provide a complementary drink. For some hotels, it is a complete December Fest with Christmas goodies topped with food themes like Yule logs, pastries, Christmas cakes, jujubes, Christmas-special puddings, and marshmallows. Cranberry sauce, brandy butter, and mulled wine are few dishes craved for by many during Christmas season.

The shopping malls like Citi Center, Phoenix, Prince Plaza, Spencer Plaza, Sky Lark, Express Avenue put up new gorgeous outlook to attract its ever alluring customers. Christmas iconic figure, Santa Claus, and other Christmas themes like simulated fall of snow flakes, glittering giant evergreen Christmas Tree, and Nativity theme take centre stage in these malls.

Christmas Special Foods in Chennai

The common Christmas dishes prepared for lunch are Chicken Briyani/beef briyani along with spicy side dishes like chicken 65, fish fry, vegetable salad, and curd. In some households, traditional South Indian sweet dish called “paal or parupu Payasam” (made out of milk or yellow grams) is prepared to enjoy the Day of Christ. Chocolates, cookies, icecreams, and cakes are prepared at home and shared with neighbours to live the paradigm of “Give and Forgive”.

Forthcoming Festivals