Singing and worship
Carol singing starts weeks before Christmas and is particularly popular with clubs, churches and students. Carol groups are joined by Santa and visit homes singing, dancing and distributing sweets. Churches will be active throughout the last week of Christmas with the parish organising various competitions for cribs, carols and Christmas trees.
Midnight mass is very important for Christians and almost everyone will attend on Christmas Eve.
After the long midnight mass, Christmas day brings a sumptuous feast. This is an important feature of the occasion in Christian homes containing the rich menu of Syrian Christian ethnic dishes.
The head of the family cuts the Christmas cake and distributes it to family members and neighbours. With non-vegetarian dishes mainly on the menu, a favourite breakfast item is duck curry (or duck stew) served with hot appams (rice pancake). The duck stew is prepared using plenty of thick coconut milk, black pepper, vinegar, shallots and curry leaves.
Another favourite dish Christians won’t miss at Christmas is beef fry which is prepared traditionally with small pieces of coconut, shallots and curry leaves fried alongside the beef in coconut oil with lashings of black pepper powder and garam masala.
If you’d like to make a traditional Keralan Christmas plum cake, try this great recipe from MADaboutkitchen by Madhuri!
The celebrations normally continue until New Year with friends and families visiting and exchanging gifts.
Keralan Christmas plum cake – image courtesy of MADaboutkitchen by Madhuri