When latitude rules Santa Claus and Christmas, you get a pretty confusing picture! Thing are not the same everywhere. 

If Santa Claus wore those kinds of clothes in most parts of India, even in December, he would probably feel all sweaty and hot! As for the sleigh, he can’t move around much. Sleigh is a snow vehicle. He certainly wouldn’t come down any chimney, for there are hardly any around. Finally, the reindeer… no chance.

These “traditional” Christmas things don’t make any sense in most of India.

But we joyously celebrate Christmas in India anyway. Everyone joins in! We use our own local methods to celebrate. I have seen beautiful and colorful rangoli in front of Hindu households in Tamil Nadu with “Merry Christmas” written in English. So many people, regardless of their religion, get together for meals and exchange gifts, etc. Many Christians buy new clothes for the festival (a very Indian practice).

In many places, icons (statues) of Mother Mary and Christ are taken out in colorful musical procession. Everyone lines the procession route for darshanam of the icons. If you see the icon, it means you have seen a representation of God. This means, God has seen you. To be seen by God is to be blessed. This is the concept of darshanam.

Especially in southern India, people make two very important snacks (bhakshya) for Christmas: kal-kal and rose cookies. And who can resist the delicious plum cake (or plum pudding)?

In Australia, New Zealand, and South America, Christmas is in Summer! Certainly no chance of a white Christmas there (most parts of South America, for sure).

See how interesting Christmas becomes when you look at its connection to geography!

Enjoy kal-kal and rose cookies with friends!

Five things to find out:

  1. Where might a white Christmas be possible in India, and why?
  2. Why is Christmas during summer in Australia, New Zealand and South America?
  3. Could reindeer really be part of Christmas in most of parts of India? Why or why not?
  4. Which Christmas decorations in your area are from cold climates and which are from hot climates?
  5. What are the typical Christmas dishes in your area?

Share your findings with by email (send it to geoATtiigs.org insert an “@” sign instead of “AT“) or use the comment link below.

Be sure to include

  • Your full name,
  • Email address,
  • Name of your school,
  • Your location (City, State), and
  • The standard in which you are studying.

We will publish selections on this blog on 1 January 2010.

Read responses from readers here (the page will open in a new window/tab)

The Hindu, Young World supplement, published this article on Tuesday 22 December 2009.


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