This year, Christmas seems particularly fraught in some parts of India.
A right-wing Hindu group in the state of Uttar Pradesh has warned schools not to celebrate the occasion, claiming it would lead to “forced conversions” to Christianity. Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh, a group of carol singers was recently detained by the police and had their car torched, reportedly for the same reason.
But Christmas has become more than a religious festival in the country, which is home to around 24 million Christians who account for just over 2% of the total population. In recent years, Christmas has evolved into something that is celebrated in almost every city by locals of different faiths, who decorate their homes with trees and lights, and even cook up delicious feasts for friends and family. Across India, you’ll spot vendors on the streets selling Santa hats, neighbourhood stores bursting with trees, tinsel, the occasional carol singers, and other such things.
After all, Christmas is an excellent way to prolong the festive season, and kickstart the celebrations for the year to come.
Here’s a selection of recent photographs of Christmas in India: