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Christmas in India

Even though most of the population in India is either Hindu or Muslim, Christmas is still celebrated with much fanfare throughout the country.  It is a national holiday in India, enjoyed by everyone irrespective of religion.  The banana and mango trees are decorated, and often homes are decorated with mango leaves.  You will often see small clay oil-burning lamps on the edges of flat roofs and on the tops of walls.  Christian families exchange gifts, and give baksheesh, or charity, to those in need.  Poinsettias are abundant, especially in churches.  There are lots of candles at the Christmas Eve services.  In the more urban areas of India, you'll often find the more western decor, the familiar Christmas trees adorned with stars and tinsel and small toys.  Santa makes an appearance in some shops and you'll even see Christmas carolers parading through the streets. 

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