There is so much to talk about when we say Christmas in the Philippines, not just because Christmas is indeed a very especial occasion to us but because our country is predominantly Christian and the most Christianize country inAsia. A vibrant Muslim community might be seen in southern Mindanao but over all, the spirit Christianity is the one that reigns in our country. the birthday of Jesus is also being celebrated by other countries but no country in Asia celebrates Christmas as festive as we do. And to further realize how especial our Christmas and to know how it is being celebrated across different cultures, let us take a little travel among Asian countries and find out their way of rejoicing Christmas!
SOUTH KOREA – “Sung Tan Chuk Ha” (Merry Christmas)
Korea is primarily a Buddhist country but around 25 percent of its population are Christians. Christmas is an official holiday inKorea,
but less fanfare and presents can be seen. They also decorate their churches with brilliant lights. However, since almost 75 percent of population are Buddhist, Christmas is not a very important occasion to them. They also exchange gifts and the most popular gift in Korea is money. They are fond of giving money in any kind of occasion. Santa is also popular in Korea but with a name of Santa Grandfather!who usually wears blue.
When it comes to food, Many Koreans goes out to different restaurants. Food outlets are busy on Christmas, as it is considered a romantic holiday for couples, and theme parks and shows have special Christmas events-(Koreanfood.com). On the other hand, Christmas perceives as a special shopping day for non- Christians.
VIETNAM – “Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh”! (Merry Christmas)
Around seven percent of the populations ofVietnamare Catholics and a vibrant festivities particularly in its largest city Ho chi minh can be observed.
Christmas is one of the four most important festivals of the Vietnamese year, including the birthday of Buddha, the New Year and the Mid-autumn Festival.
Although the Christians observed the religious rituals of Christmas,(http://www.vietnam-beauty.com).
Christmas inVietnamis a big event, especially inHo Chi Minh City, Vietnamese celebrate Christmas almost the same as Filipinos, Christians attend
Midnight mass on Christmas Eve and return home to a deluxe Christmas dinner. If Filipinos have Keso de bola, hamon and lechon Vietnamese have
chicken soup while wealthier people eat turkey and Christmas pudding.
INDIA – “Bade Din Ki Mubarak” (Merry Christmas)
Christianity is India’s third-largest religion, with a around 25 million christians, constituting 2.3% of India’s population.
Christmas in India is not a special event with barely three percent population of Christians, Christmas is definitely not a big deal. People in India have rarely Christmas tree for decoration. A Banana or Mango tree is used to decorate their houses. Every Christian family always makes sure to have a stock of sweets to serve for their visitors during Christmas season. Indians also love parties, they love dancing, eating and drinking during Christmas, they usually party ate hotels and restaurants.
Here, their Father Christmas or Santa Claus delivers gifts to children from a horse and cart. He’s known as ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi, ‘Baba Christmas'(http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/india.).
JAPAN- “Merii Kurisumasu”(Merry Christmas)
Christmas inJapanis different from other countries which have a large number of Christian community Christmas. Only 1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, with the majority of Japanese being tolerant of all faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto, etc. In spite of this, the Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations, including Christmas (Billy Hammond, Christmas inJapan)
Here, Christmas is not an official holiday it is only celebrated as a commercial and secular festival, For less than one percent of Christians in Japan Christmas is a time for Christmas lights and Santa Claus, parties, gift exchanges, and eating things like Christmas cake (a Japanese creation) rather than a religious occasion. Eating Christmas cakes is a Japanese way to celebrate Christmas . You can find a wide variety of attractive Christmas cakes at stores. Christmas Eve has also become a night for couples to go out and spend a romantic time together at fancy restaurants or hotels inJapan.
Whether we are in recession or in progress, Christmas in our country is always merry! Iin other countries, Christmas is might not that special but for us Filipinos this is not just a simple event. Christmas means a lot for Filipinos, it is the mother of all occasion, it is the time for family reunions, time for giving and sharing, time for savoring foods and time for joy and peace.
Merry Christmas to ALL!!