Christmas Traditions Asia
The Christmas traditions of Asia are a collection of religious 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. Because Western secular Holiday celebrations come from a cold place, the Asians have difficulties adopting these practices in tropical climate.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. South Korea has a public set of the Christmas traditions of 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.
In Muslim countries, no Christmas traditions of Asia 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.
In China and Taiwan, meanwhile, Christmas is a private celebration. But 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.
The Philippines, however, celebrate the longest Christmas traditions of Asia due to its Spanish influence. The advent of Christmas in this country is ushered by dawn masses. The Christmas feast is celebrated after the midnight mass on Xmas eve. Other winter holidays are also followed like Innocent’s day and Epiphany.