Christmas has a unique place among festivals. It grips the non-Christian just as it does the Christian, though in a different way perhaps. It is a time when a large part of the world is on holiday and celebrating. Christmas has the power to pull the non-Christian as much because it has come to settle on the imagination as a big day that needs to be treated as such. Why is it big? Perhaps because there are Christians in a big number all over the world and Christianity was the religion of colonizers in so many countries. Christmas has therefore become synonymous with celebration. The need to celebrate and make a day different to the routine is universal and Christmas has taken the cake in becoming the near universal day for celebration. It is marked by a gentility that is absent from some of the other major festivals.
Though festivals have a very positive role to play in our lives, in less developed regions they can become the cause of anxiety for some. Celebration can lead to a maddening desire to outdo everyone else in creating sound, illumination, and other activities of eating and drinking because in the common man’s life it comes in stark contrast to the drudgery that he pulls through routinely. Thus a number of festivals including Christmas can become a nuisance as well. Drunkenness is an irritant that people are forced to put up with.
India is a country of festivals and Christmas is fast becoming the least troublesome festival of this country. In small town India there has emerged a new fascination for loud sounds, of loudspeakers and crackers that are as deafening as bombs. Our festivals invite these annoying onslaughts. Besides there is a festival of colour-throwing in which some of the filthiest things are thrown at each other instead of just colours.
Let Christmas become a trendsetter for other festivals. It may lack in the desire to jump over the moon in celebration, but it shows the way of celebrating within limits.