December comes with many mixed feelings in everyone's life. On the one hand, we are excited about Christmas, new year celebrations, and another side we feel. “Oh No, one more year is about to end”. No matter how successful your year has been, you still feel the need for it to last a little longer. It's a human thing, detachment from the 12-month-long relationship with the year is a bit difficult. Maybe that is why they brought the custom of celebrating the last few days of the year with joy and welcoming the new year with a bang. Of course, there are religious values too attached to the festival, especially with Christmas- the birthday of the Holy Jesus.
In India Christmas has its fragrance of celebration. However Christmas came to India since Christianity entered here, last few years increased its likability among youth very much. In fact, In India, non-Christians celebrate Christmas in more numbers and with equal joy. Now people feel thrilled to buy Christmas trees, decorate them with kids, have small parties at home, gift secret Santa gifts to friends, and have a joyful time with loved ones.
Celebration of Christmas and new year in India has its own way blended with local customs, parties, food along with global rituals. Markets In Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, or Goa are filled with Christmas trees, chains of Holly and mistletoe leaves, Santa Clauses of all sizes, shiny bells, stars and balls, and every other kind of Christmas decoration possible. Delhi Khan market and Sadar Bazar are very famous for Christmas shopping. The cafes and bakeries pull up their sleeves to serve the demands of cakes, traditional and global confectionaries, goodies, cookies, etc.
However, every place has its own items of food that will be placed at Christmas and new year dinner tables or party counters. Like in Delhi and north India they will have handmade “Gujias” and other handmade savories like “Matharis”. The Mughals-influenced north food culture also includes Yakhni Pulao in Christmas dish in Delhi along with as is Zarda, a sweet dish made with saffron.
In Mumbai handmade fudge cakes, and rich plum, or fruit cakes are very famous for new year celebrations. In modern days, some gourmet items like florentines and dry fruit cookies are also famous among youth. In Kolkata, traditionally Rose cookies and KulKuls are famous in any celebration be it Pujo or Christmas. In Goa, traditionally Christmas famous sweets are “Kuswar,” “Newiro,”- stuffed with palm sugar, sweet grated coconut, and sesame seeds, and cardamom and cashew sweets
In all the urban or suburban places of India, house parties for Christmas and New year celebrations include flavored nutty chocolates, toffees, cakes, and pastries. The chocolate muses and Cheesecake is newly added must-haves at premium parties. Chef Aarti Gupta of Wicked-Gourmet says, “December is filled with the demand for handmade cakes. People love customized and specially curated things for their parties. Also, now people are very health conscious and particular about diet, especially in high society. That keeps us on our toes to make gluten-free cakes and sugar-free fruit cakes or tea cakes”
Christmas brings a joyful blend of different cultures in India be it customs or food culture. The Christmas party and dinners extended till the new year. Now people have started gifting hampers as a new year's gift to close ones which include traditional sweets, gourmet food items, wines, or chocolates. In Indian traditional homes, people gift assorted sweet boxes or Nut Jar hampers to each other as new year good wishes same as Diwali. The Indo- western culture celebration indeed brings fresh colors to the life of Indian People and handmade innovative artisanal food adds more shades to the celebration.