Most people here celebrate it as a fun end-of-the-year festival. The malls used to get redecorated with a Christmas theme before the pandemic struck. Our church hosts an inter-denominational Carol Night, where different groups come and sing. They also rent a choir bus and go carol singing with their instruments to all the church members’ houses at night.
My family goes to our hometown to celebrate with the family. I have my maternal and paternal family homes there, and we alternate between them We open the attic and get out all the Christmas decoration boxes… Everybody is in charge of a different decoration aspect - someone does the lights, someone climbs up into the big mango trees and hangs lights(while the moms yell at their grown up sons- my dad and uncles- to stop taking risks ), someone is in charge of the outdoor cooking fires(we only use them when the entire family gathers), someone does the garden decorating, and all of us kids help out wherever possible. Jim Reeves or the Homecoming Friends are always playing in the background. The eldest living daughter(my grand-aunt) and daughter-in-law of the house(my grandma) head the cooking. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation for the entire Christmas week.
The church is lit up with lots and lots of lights, and the everyone dresses up in traditional silk saris to go for the Christmas Eve service. It’s another chaotic experience because the whole house(usually about 20 people) has to share one bathroom. The church is usually overflowing with people because of all the families who’ve come to their hometowns for Christmas.
On New Years’ Eve, our family comes back to the house after church and sets up a table outside in the yard and we fill it up with all the snacks and desserts everyone brings. We sing till midnight and then talk about how the year was for each of us, and how far God has brought us.
Since we live very close to the beach, we either go and spend time playing on the shores or go on a day trip to the nearby island. It’s so much fun to be together and I can’t wait for everything to start happening!