Once again, Meri and Teri Christmas!

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While walking about in Connaught Place, we chanced upon a rather underweight Santa Claus. But there were more along the inner circle. Sitting and conferring. Yesterday, while munching on plum cake, I was briefly reminded of what a confusing mish mash of rituals surround Christmas in Indian cities. Where Merry in the Merry Christmas becomes Meri and we say

Meri Christmas! Oye, Teri Bhi Christmas. .

On that note, here’s a lovely piece by RV Smith that I had linked to a year back.

The Delhi tradition has it that Santa Claus comes over the mountains from Tibet, and not Iceland. So for local Catholic families his address is not Santa Claus, Main Post Office 96930, Arctic Circle, Finland, but the outskirts of Lhasa. The animal he travelled on therefore, was the yak and not the reindeer. There is historical evidence to suggest that Christmas was observed (not celebrated) secretly in Tibet in the 16th Century.

In 1581, when the first Jesuit missionaries were at Agra and Lahore, it was decided to send a mission across the Himalayas to establish contact with the Christians there. Father Monserrate, when he was with Akbar in Punjab, obtained some interesting particulars regarding the Tibetans (presumably of that group which in the early years after Christ had accepted Christianity).

The accounts furnished by the mission thrilled Delhi and Agra and a year later the Armenians celebrated Christmas in Rewari and at Sarai Rohilla, where they built a church. The Jesuits also built a church in Delhi and so Xmas in Delhi dates back to 1626 – during Jahangir’s last years.

8 Comments

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8 Responses to Once again, Meri and Teri Christmas!

  1. This is proof of the decrepit culture in Delhi. Hindi and Delhi — the twin curse.

    This will never happen in Tamil. That proves how great Tamil is. Also, Madras.

  2. dipali

    R.V.Smith in Delhi and S.Muthiah in Chennai have been tremendous sources of fascinating local history for their respective cities. Our ever popular Mirza Ghalib,( much later of course), during Bahadur Shah Zafar’s time, speaks of Jesus-
    ‘Ibn-Mariam hua kare koi, mere dukh ki dawa kare koi’.
    For all its crass commercialization, as is with almost all festivals of all religions, Christmas somehow does strike a receptive chord in many, believers or not.
    So, Neha dear, Happy Meri Teri Christmas to all!

  3. I don’t know if it is so… Probably it’s the way we look at it. Christmas is a wonderful festival, unique in its own way. Even though I am not a Christian, I have had numerous occasions to be part of carols and imbibe the festive spirit that’s so refreshing. It’s a festival like many others. And it too. like others, has undergone changes that only reflect the changes in the society that celebrates the festival.

  4. km

    Sabki Christmas, yaar.

    Thanks for that link to the RV Smith article, my famous friend.

  5. B o o.

    Hi Neha, Just saw you on TV. On NDTV, India Clicks. And I was telling all excited “Thats Neha! thats Neha!” to my parents! :)
    Happy Xmas to you too!

  6. Oh, lucky you to be able to spend the holidaze in India! Have a truly Meri Christmas! :)

  7. To you too! and I missed the NDTV coverage..send me a clip too :)..

    u out to mumbai now?