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Christian Festivals
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ChurchChristianity is based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ. The Christians (followers of Christ) believe for most part in the Holy Trinity: God- the Father, God- the Son and God- the Holy Ghost or Spirit. Christians hold that Christ was both God and man, God made man, and that he suffered and died to redeem mankind from the penalty of sin. Christians believe that Jesus was a saviour and are now waiting for his Second Coming.

Christianity originated in Palestine two thousand years ago. It is based on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the incarnation of the Son, form the center of Christian belief and are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. The Bible is the Christian holy book. It is divided into the Old and New Testaments.

Christianity came to India in 52 AD. Twenty years after the crucifixion of Christ, one of his apostles, St. Thomas, is said to have landed on the Malabar Coast. He established a few churches and converted a number of local inhabitants in Kerala. This was the first Christian settlement - the Syrian Church. Today the `Syrian Christians` (as they are known, owing to their spiritual practices and adoption of the Syrian liturgy) form the oldest Christian community in India. The Syrian Orthodox Church functions as an autonomous body under its Indian prelate but remains loyal to the spiritual pre-eminence of the Patriarch of Antioch (the ancient capital of Syria).

Christians worship in churches and their leaders are known as priests or ministers. Many churches hold a service called Communion, or Eucharist, in which bread and wine are shared together, just as Jesus did with his followers before his death.

The most important Christian festivals are: Lent, Easter and Christmas. As a result of differing interpretations of Christian scripture, different denominations have sprung up, including the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and many others.

Christian FestivalsFestival celebrations are quite. There are fasts and prayers. The festivals are celebrated according to the religious significance of the days. These different occasions are of mourning, devotion and joy. The celebrations are followed with great enthusiasm. People observe time worn customs and traditions associated with each festival. Carols, dances, midnight mass and preparation of dishes for the Christmas feast enliven the nights. Goa is special where Christianity is concerned. Goan celebrations have spontaneity of their own. Apart from the regular Christian festivals, the churches in Goa observe days particular to them with masses, feasts and processions.

Christians follow the Gregorian calendar. It is a corrected form of the Julian calendar and was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
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