Delhi, November 29: You will not find too many people celebrating Christmas here, except for a few families who get together for a big family gathering.
It is the first time Christmas celebrations are being held on Christmas Eve.
In the city, there are only two other times Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day: on December 25 and on December 26.
But people will not be too scared of going out to celebrate Christmas.
The city has witnessed a steady decline in the number of Christmas celebrations over the last decade, says Gauri Kaur, an activist with the civic body, India’s Women and Child Development Commission.
“This year we have witnessed a decline in both the number and the duration of the celebrations, which is not encouraging,” Kaur told Al Jazeera.
Kaur believes the festive atmosphere is due to a variety of factors.
“In the past, we had to be careful when we went out to decorate the houses.
But nowadays, people are allowed to do so.
We are getting rid of this fear of going to the market or even the grocery store and buying presents,” she said.
The most common reason for the decrease in festive celebrations is the fact that the number in Delhi has been declining for years.
This trend will continue, said Shreya Singh, a researcher with the Centre for Research on Women, a women’s rights organisation.
“People are worried that they will lose their jobs or that their families will suffer if they go out to the markets.
Many people are scared to go out on Christmas,” Singh said.”
But Christmas is also a social event that people go out for.
So if you are afraid of going, you may miss out on the other festivities,” she added.
Singh’s research indicates that over the years, people have gone out to markets to buy gifts, such as presents, for their relatives.
“But for the most part, people will return home on Christmas to spend time with their families.
There is a real desire to spend Christmas together and it is not just in Delhi,” she pointed out.
Sing, however, is not optimistic about the prospects of festive celebrations in the city.
“Christmas is about family, not about buying presents for your relatives.
It’s about having fun, and I do not think this is happening in Delhi.
I do think it is a small part of the festive celebrations.
I have seen many people going to shops on Christmas morning to buy presents for their loved ones,” she explained.
In a city like Delhi, it is also difficult to get a hold of holiday sales.
“You can only go to the local stores, but I cannot find anything on sale,” said Suman Sharma, a resident of the northern part of Delhi.
“It is not the same as shopping on Christmas day.
You can only buy presents on December 29 and you will have to pay Rs 1,200 [for the package].
I do wish there were more Christmas celebrations, but it is hard to go to shops.”
The lack of Christmas shopping has also been a major source of frustration for Delhiites.
“I have gone to a few markets but it was always busy on Christmas eve,” said Ankit, a shopkeeper.
“When I went out on November 28, I was able to find a few presents but it has been busy for the last few days.
People have stopped going out and it has become very busy,” he added.
A recent survey conducted by the Centre of Policy Research in Delhi found that over one in four residents do not plan to visit the markets during the festive season.
According to the study, one in five respondents had no intention of visiting any markets during this festive season, while the other one in three respondents said they would be unable to go on Christmas.
While there are many reasons behind the decline in festive festivities, a growing number of people are not happy about the trend.
“Many people are afraid to go outside on Christmas because of the lack of social activity,” said Arvind, a student from the northern district of Rohtak.
“There is no social life to go through,” he said.
The student, who does not want to be identified, said that even if he goes out on holiday on Christmas, he is not happy with what he sees in the markets on the way home.
“I want to see a lot of festive food.
But, even I do have to ask my parents,” he lamented.