Many Indias and Many Christmases
Ann Susan Aleyas
INDIAN CHRISTMAS: ESSAYS | MEMORIES | HYMNS by Jerry Pinto & Madhulika Liddle Speaking Tiger, 2022, 242 pp., ₹699.00
May 2023, volume 47, No 5

Christmas, considered primarily a Christian celebration, has now become a global affair celebrated in all forms, ways and colours by people across the world. In India however, Christmas is often seen either as the product of a certain colonial hangover or increasingly as catering to global capitalist interests. Ironically, as Jerry Pinto reminds us, at the heart of Christmas is the humble birth of Jesus Christ who represents love, hope and peace to all humanity. It is perhaps in its revisionary impetus to locate and understand Christmas (or ‘Christmases’ as the reader would learn) differently that the relevance, and even enjoyability, of Indian Christmas: Essays | Memories | Hymns, an anthology edited by Jerry Pinto and Madhulika Liddle lie.

Indian Christmas symbolically brings together the East and the West, and positions Christmas as a distinct festival of the people. As Madhulika Liddle mentions in her introduction, the anthology familiarizes the reader with what may be understood as the ‘indigenization of Christmas’ by foregrounding various region-specific practices and adaptations of the festival; this includes diverse and delicious culinary spreads of Christmas feasts prepared using local ingredients, hand-crafted decorations made out of native plants, carol songs sung in native languages and other seasonal community activities.

Continue reading this review