Natal: The word that crept into the Indian lexicon.

Dennard H D’Souza Senior Research Associate (Maritime History Society)

The birth of Jesus is widely known as Christmas in India, owing to the predominance of the English language in the South Asian Subcontinent. It is also interesting to note that Christmas in many pockets of  western India has a different nomenclature. In Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat it is referred to as Natal, a word of Iberian origin but Portuguese to be precise.


As Goa remained a colonial settlement of the Portuguese in India for the longest time – approximately for  four centuries. It is astonishing to note that Maharashtra and Gujarat which were part of the British Raj were still influenced by the linguistic sensibilities of the Anglosphere and retained a Portuguese loanword “Natal” Continue reading “Natal: The word that crept into the Indian lexicon.”