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The 12 Trips of Christmas: Gifts in Goa

India may be a strange place to highlight a Christmas destination, but even though the vast majority of the population doesn’t follow Christianity, most people enjoy taking part in spreading holiday cheer. Throughout the country and especially in Mumbai and Goa, trees are decorated, carols are sung, cakes are made, lanterns are lit, and Christmas plays are performed. Children will even expect to see Santa giving presents from a horse and cart. If you walk down the neighborhood streets in Mumbai, you may come across dozens of homes all decorated for the holiday and all showcasing nativity scenes. Giant paper lanterns are also hung between homes to represent the baby Jesus as the light of the world. Mango trees or fake pine trees are decorated with cotton, stars, gifts and candies.

In Goa, a huge festival is held where everyone is welcome to dance, eat, drink, give gifts and be merry. Visitors are welcome to make figurines out of clay and take part in decorating the community tree. Everywhere you go, people are singing songs and ringing Christmas bells. At midnight on Christmas Eve, fireworks are lit and Christians are called to mass.

When mass has concluded, the food is served. Traditional Christmas dishes often include sorpatel (a spicy pork and liver curry) and pork vindaloo served with rice. Sweet treats are also in abundance such as neureos (stuffed dried fruit and coconut rounds), coconut nests, dodol (cashew and coconut squares), and bebinka (a traditional multi-layer pudding). So, if you love curry and are up for a rip-roaring good time, head over to Mumbai or Goa for the holidays.

Images courtesy of Pond 5.

December 24, 2014

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