Sumuka Gummaraju from Bangalore, student of Applied Computer Science at SRH University, talks about his first Christmas in Germany.

Coming to Germany was always a dream come true, just because of the picture it had painted in my mind since childhood. Coming from a country with a wide variety of cultures, religions, languages and ethnic backgrounds to a mono-linguistic country, is truly unique. Back in India, people from each religion have their own festivities, that are celebrated uniquely in accordance with the traditions, rituals, beliefs and its significant history behind.

Diwali, one of the most prominent Hindu festivals in India, is celebrated with a lot of dazzle and grandeur. It is a festival that symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. During this festival of lights, houses are lit up with earthen lamps and decorated with rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor with powdered rice. People wear new clothes, participate in family puja, share sweets and savories with their dear ones, and burst firecrackers. The little ones always look forward to Diwali, as they are awed by the sheer flamboyance and sound of crackers.

Likewise, Christmas celebrations commence early in the month of December, that is preceded by the famous Halloween night. Just about every house has a ritual of decorating the Christmas tree.

Children eagerly look forward to receiving their gifts from Santa. With happiness spread throughout the atmosphere, the Weinachtsmarkt at the Heidelberg Hauptstrasse happens to be the most lit up and promising areas around town. The townspeople gather around, listen to brass band music, drink beer or hot mulled wine (Glühwein), and enjoy the hearty traditional fare of Heidelberg. Vendors tirelessly sell baked foods, including the German lebkuchen, French crepes, Hungarian langos, sugar-roasted almonds, cookies, Cotton candies, and other sweets.

Hailing from Bangalore, also known as the silicon valley of India, and one of the most hospitable cities, Heidelberg has been a very accommodative and warm city to me. The rich history it has to offer, along with its modern avenues for business and trade, and immensely close connection to mother earth create the right blend of a city life which anyone would desire. Together with the Old Bridge across the Neckar river, and the castle which is perched on the slopes of Königstuhl are among the most relaxing and impressive sights.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year ahead!

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