India is a plural society where all the major festivals across different faiths are celebrated by people with enthusiasm. Christmas celebrations can be seen across the country where many Indians decorate their homes for the occasion, with twinkling lights and brightly coloured decorations. It is also common for families to decorate a Christmas tree adorned with a large star.
Typical Christmas food in India includes sweet baked snacks and treats – such as Christmas cake, a decadent, rich fruit cake flavoured with Indian spices including cloves and cinnamon. It’s not just Indian baked goods that benefit from these sweet flavourings – cinnamon is a flavour synonymous with Christmas, and India is one of the only places in the world that produces highly-prized Ceylon cinnamon.
Globally, there are two types of cinnamon – cassia, from the Cinnamomum cassia tree which is native to China, Indonesia, and Vietnam; and Ceylon or ‘true’ cinnamon, from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree which grows in Sri Lanka and some parts of southern India. Approximately 70% of global cinnamon is cassia, however, Ceylon cinnamon is much more highly regarded, and fetches a much higher price in global markets. In 2020, India exported $9.7 million worth of cinnamon to countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, UK, and New Zealand.