Losing touch with Christmas | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Losing touch with Christmas

delhi Updated: Dec 24, 2010 00:16 IST
Mallica Joshi

One look at the newspapers and you see announcements of Christmas parties, carnivals, brunches and shopping festivals.

"The advertisements and pictures of Christmas parties make it look like these are the things the festival is all about. It is indeed a festival for everyone but the truth is that not many people know what Christmas is really about," said Samuel George, a resident of Shahdara, who had come to the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday.

According to George, in today's consumer-driven society important celebrations during the midnight mass and morning service are being sidelined slowly. "Showing a two minute capsule of the celebrations at St Paul's Cathedral in Kolkata is not enough," he said.

And most Christians in Delhi feel the same.

"The celebrations in the big cities are becoming like those in Europe where you rarely see baby Jesus anywhere. It is all about malls and gifts.

Christmas is turning into a shopping festival," said Father Stanley, media coordinator of Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He said while the Christmas season is about having fun and gifting, it goes much beyond that. Midnight mass, which usually starts at 11 pm on December 24 in most churches, is how Christians start the Christmas celebrations.

In the Catholic service, also called the Eucharist, the idol of baby Jesus is brought in and incense applied on its forehead. It is followed by a reading from the scriptures.

"The tradition of bringing the idol is the high point of our service," Father Stanley said.

In the Protestant churches idols are not worshipped. Readings about the birth of Christ from the scriptures is done during mass, which is then followed by a special sermon by the priest.

But the beauty of the festival is that roughly half the people who visit churches are from other faiths. Learn more about the tradition