Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas in India

I love seizing every opportunity to teach my children about Jesus Christ and to build their faith in Him.  Christmas time is certainly no exception.  Over the years, I've written about some of our fun traditions, especially our Christmas Book reading/crafting.

This year, we will be exploring the different ways that believers and followers of Christ in various countries celebrate the birth of the Savior.

Since our children had a two-hour school delay this morning, I thought it was a good day to start our "Christmas Around the World" celebration.

We began by talking about Christmas in India.  According to the website WhyChristmas.com there are 25 million Christians living in India (making up just 2.3% of their population.)  In the book "Merry Christmas Everywhere" Arlene Erlbach, we read that in some parts of India, people celebrate Christmas by setting up a banana or mango tree in their house!  

People cover their ceilings from corner to corner with streamers, fancy garlands, and balloons.  Outside their homes, they light candles or oil lamps and display them on their flat roofs to show people that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  They also string floating star lanterns from their house to their neighbors'.  And they display a star near their front door to remind people of how the Three Kings found their way to Bethlehem.

I found this particularly interesting: "In north-west India, the tribal Christians of the Bhil Folk, go out night after night for a week at Christmas to sing their own carols the whole night through.  They go to surrounding villages singing to people and telling the Christmas story."

It inspires me to hear of the great faith of these Christian Indians...enough to go from house to house for a week, telling the story of Christ's birth!  It is my hope for my friends and family that we will find our own ways to let our faith in the Savior shine brightly this Christmas season and always!

Following the suggestion in our book, we made our own "glittery garland" like ones that Christians in India might hang in their homes.

How to make Indian Christmas garland:

1.  Cut long strips of paper (approx 3 feet).
2.  Decorate with crayons, markers, glitter pens, etc.
3.  Glue tinsel, strips of ribbon, and stars (we cut ours ourselves) and let them hang from the strips of paper.  Then hangs from a ceiling or tree.

By the time it was time to go to school, we had created quite the mess and quite a beautiful display.  I hung it above my kitchen island, because I just thought it was so cheery and beautiful!

I found a large, free, printable world map to use during our celebration at yourchildrenlearns.com.  I'm going to hang it up so we can keep track of our Christmas "travels."

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there of the 16 languages spoken in India, one of them is English...so to say Merry Christmas in India, you say "Merry Christmas!"

You can read more information about Christmas in India at this site.

Find out about More Christmas Traditions from Around the World:

Christmas in India
Christmas in Japan
Christmas in Nigeria