Iruthayaraju Andrews ’16, ocean engineering
Nativity scenes, Christmas trees and stars outside homes are all part of Iruthayaraju Andrews’ holiday traditions in India.
“Our Christmas decoration starts with decorating a star at the entrance of our home, which symbolizes the arrival of Jesus Christ,” Andrews says.
Indians go all-in when it comes to Nativity scenes.
“We tend to get very creative, creating mountain-like structures and make it look realistic,” Andrews says. “Sometimes, people even build a small village next to the Nativity scene.”
Andrews says that his family decorates the Christmas tree with fancy ornaments and lights and hangs paper decorations throughout the living room.
“On Christmas Eve, we usually go to mass at the church around midnight, then come back home and pray a little family prayer before we go to sleep for the night.”
Rangoli is a unique Indian art form that usually involves an elaborate design created on the ground infusing colored rice, flour, sand or flower petals.
“Christmas morning, Indians have the habit of drawing rangoli in the front of their main door whether they celebrate Christmas or not.”
Christmas Day at Andrews’ home typically involves hanging out with neighbors and sharing cakes and sweets. Even neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas join in on the traditions.