Christmas Eve (24 December) is celebrated all over the world as the day before the birth of Jesus Christ. But the day holds special importance for the followers of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda.

It was on 24 December 1886 that Swami Vivekananda, who was then Narendra Nath Datta, and his group of brother disciples attained Brahmacharya (Monasticism) in Antpur in West Bengal. They then formed the Ramakrishna Math in Belur, which is famously known as the Belur Math.

Christmas Eve is celebrated in every Ramakrishna Math in India and outside to commemorate the Brahmacharya of Swami Vivekananda and others. It was from this day onwards that they took up the task of spreading humanitarian and spiritual values to the world.

Jesus Aarti (Photo source: The Statesman

Generally, a priest from a church is called upon on this day at the Maths. The Jesus Aarti then takes place in front of the picture of Jesus Christ surrounded by sweets and eatables like cakes. I am sure a lot of you wouldn’t have even heard about something like ‘Jesus Aarti.’ The priest also reads few verses from the Bible.

“Swami Vivekananda and fellow Ramakrishna disciples took Bramhacharya on December 24. Swamiji cited the example of the greatness of Jesus and his renunciation. But he and the rest did not know it was the Christmas Eve. They came to know about it later”, said Swami Shrimohanananda during the 2014 Christmas Eve celebrations at the Mumbai branch of Ramakrishna Math.