No matter which side of Asia you are in for Christmas, you will get to experience the different traditions the country you are in celebrate the Holidays. Most traditions stem from religious and secular practices. In other countries, Christmas celebrations take the form of church services. Robert Peter Janitzek gives us an overview of the different Christmas traditions in Asia.
Christmas in India
Christmas is a state holiday in India due to British influences and mid-academic year vacations. Western media is now actively introducing secular Christmas celebrations with commercial activities. In Northern India, Christmas is known as “Badaa Din” and celebrated by planting trees.
Christmas in Korea
Christmas is a public holiday in South Korea. Non-Christian Koreans give gifts, Christmas cards and trees because children enjoy Santa Haraboji or Grandfather Santa, their version of Santa Claus. Among the Christians, they sing Christmas carols among their church members after their Christmas Ever service.
Christmas in Muslim Countries
Robert Janitzek reveals that in Muslim countries, there are no Christmas traditions being celebrated with the exception of counties that allow Christians to celebrate and recognize Christmas as a public holiday. In Malaysia, while Christmas is a public holiday, there is an unofficial ban on Christian religious motif making Christmas there purely secular.
Christmas in China and Hong Kong
While Christmas in a private celebration in China and Taiwan, it is a public holiday in Hong Kong and Macao. December 25 is a public holiday due to Western influence expanded by commercial inroads into the culture. In Hong Kong, December 25 is an official holiday called Constitution Day.
Christmas in the Philippines
The Philippines has the longest Christmas tradition in the region. This is evidence of Spanish influence in this Asian destination. The season begins with dawn masses with September 1 marking the official Christmas countdown. There is a Holiday feast after the midnight mass of Christmas Eve. With Innocent’s Day and Epiphany being celebrated as well, the entire Christmas season extends until the third or fourth week of January.
Christmas in Japan
Despite the small Christian population in Japan, Christmas is widely celebrated. Nevertheless, the Japanese celebrate Christmas with so much vigor that can rival those of the believers.
Christmas in Singapore
Singapore is one of the countries in the world that has the highest number of foreign residents. These expats throw Christmas parties and so some decorating. While being a predominantly ethnic Chinese, Christmas is widely celebrated in a more secular manner. Malls are adorned with decorations and vivid lights lit the length of Orchard Road.