Christmas Traditions in Asia
The Christmas traditions in Asia are a collection of religious and secular practices by different religions occurring during the holiday period. Only a small fragment of the population of most countries in Asia are Christians, and their Xmas celebrations only take the form of church services and are sometimes overrun by secular New Year celebrations. It is only in schools run by Christian missionaries, except in Christian Asian countries, that children and their parents actively participate in Xmas celebrations.
Christmas in India
In India, Christmas is a state holiday due to British influences and because of mid-academic year vacations. The active Western media is slowly introducing secular Christmas celebrations with commercial activities. Christmas, also known as “Badaa Din” (Big Day) in Northern India and people tend to plant trees to celebrate this day.
Christmas in Korea
South Korea has a public set of the Christmas traditions in Asia because it is recognized as a public holiday. Thus, some non-Christian Koreans sometimes engage in gift-giving, Christmas cards and trees because children enjoy Santa Haraboji or Grandfather Santa, their version of Santa Claus. The Christians carol after Xmas Eve services among their church members. The commercial influence is strong in Japan and the Japanese enjoy the secular celebrations of Christmas, second only to New Year’s Day which is a sacred holiday. Xmas is more of a time for lovers who exchange gifts and go on special dates. There are, however, sincere Christians who celebrate Christmas from the religious viewpoint.
Christmas in Muslim Countries
In Muslim countries, no Christmas traditions are celebrated except in some countries who allow Christians to celebrate and even recognize Xmas as a public holiday, such as in Jordan. In Malaysia, although Christmas is a public holiday, there is an unofficial ban on Christian religious motif, so the celebration is purely secular.
Christmas in China and Hong Kong
While in China and Taiwan, Christmas is a private celebration (not a public holiday), in Hong Kong and Macao, December 25 is a public holiday by western influence expanded lately by commercial inroads into the culture. December 25 is an official holiday as the Constitution Day.
Christmas in the Philippines
The Philippines, however, celebrate the longest Christmas traditions in Asia due to its Spanish influence. The advent of Christmas in this country is ushered by dawn masses. September 1st marks the official Countdown to Christmas, as the whole country prepares for the longest celebration of Christmas than any other country in the world!
The Christmas feast is celebrated after the midnight mass on Xmas eve. Other winter holidays are also followed like Innocent’s day and Epiphany, so the entire Holiday finally ends the third or fourth week of January.
Christmas in Japan
Christmas is widely celebrated in Japan despite the Christian population being so fractionally small. Nevertheless, the Japanese as a whole celebrate Xmas with curious vigour that can rival those of believers. Read More in our full page on ‘Christmas Celebrations in Japan’