December 25th, commemorates the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and is a time of fellowship and goodwill enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, while the majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, Christians make up 7% of the total population of the country. Christmas is however widely celebrated with a lot of excitement. Christmas celebrations in Sri Lanka goes back to when Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was ruled by the Portuguese from 1505 to 1650 AD, followed by the Dutch and British - 1658 to 1796 and 1815 to 1948, respectively.
At Christmas time starting from early December, signs of Christmas celebrations can be seen in many establishments such as hotels, shops, malls, offices, streets and such, with decorations and Christmas trees being put up, Christmas parties and shopping starts as the season commences, heralding the Christmas spirit. Christmas trees can be seen on sale around the 20th onwards, while Christian households in the country get busy sprucing up and decorating the home in preparation for the 25th of December which is declared a public holiday.
On Christmas Eve, Christians attend Midnight Mass held in many churches, Chapels and Cathedrals all over the country. Christmas time brings about a holiday spirit with many people taking their annual leave to go visiting relatives, friends, and neighbors. The proverbial seasonal Christmas cake is baked in Christian homes from delectable and age-old recipes handed down from generation to generation while an enjoyable time spent wining and dining on seasonal favorites at Christmas lunches and dinners happens. Many corporate establishments and national service organizations have carol singing, carol services in all churches are held while almost all hotels in the country organize special holiday programs with fun flowing throughout the season and the season lasts up to early January.