Christmas is a magical time of the year. Every family has its own Christmas traditions. It could be decorating the Christmas tree with your family, watching “The Grinch” under five layers of blankets, or even chucking a shrimp on a barbie! Every family has its traditions, and every country has theirs. Have you ever considered spending Christmas in Asia? You are about to make your 2021 holiday plans even more exciting.


Although it may seem strange, Japan has not celebrated Christmas widely in the last few decades. Shintoism, Buddhism, and Shintoism are the main religions in Japan. Christmas is not a religious holiday but a time to spread love and happiness. Christmas Eve in Japan is a much bigger event than Christmas Day in Japan and can be compared with Valentine’s Day in Western countries. As a romantic day, couples can exchange gifts, have candle-lit dinners, and take evening walks to see the Christmas lights. Christmas Day is not a national holiday, but the Emperor’s birthday falls on December 23rd. This is certainly worth making a national holiday off!

This wouldn’t be Japan without a funky food tradition. After a “Kentucky for Christmas” campaign in the ’70s, KFC is now considered Japan’s Christmas food. People line up to get their Christmas KFC every day! Did you know that the “shortcake” emoji is based upon a Japanese Christmas cake? Instead of a western fruit cake filled with alcohol, the Japanese Christmas cake is made from a sponge cake with strawberries and cream. If you want to spend Christmas in Asia but prefer colder celebrations, Japan is the place to go!


You might be confused if you visit The Philippines in September. You didn’t skip 2 months or rewind time. The Filipinos begin counting down to Christmas on September 1st, and celebrations continue for four months. Christmas music can be heard in shops starting in September and continuing until January. Things start to get more formal on December 16th. People begin attending pre-dawn mass every day, with the last mass on Christmas Day. On the first Sunday of January, the Feast of the Three Kings, or Epiphany, marks the close of the celebrations… for seven months before it begins all over again! For a tropical holiday, you will never forget, the Philippines is the best place to spend Christmas in Asia.


While only 5% of India’s total population is Christian, that is a significant number considering India has over 1.4bn people. Santa brings presents to Indian children by horse and cart. Depending on which language you speak, Santa may be called Father Christmas, Christmas Elder Man or Christmas Old Man. Christmas Eve is the main event, while Christmas Day is more important than Christmas Day. Midnight Mass is a big deal. Traditional Catholics fasted from the 1st to the 24th of December. There is an Indian tradition of giving and receiving gifts, depending on where you live. Indians decorate Christmas trees with a mango or banana tree and occasionally use mango leaves. Christians in Goa hang giant star-shaped paper lanterns between the houses to make it seem like the stars are above them as they walk.


Sri Lankan Christians mark the beginning of the festive season with firecrackers being lit at dawn on December 1st. They then attend Midnight Mass. Although Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist, only 7% of its population are Christians, and Buddhists participate in the celebrations. Children decorate Christmas trees and hang lights. Santa Claus can be seen in many malls throughout the country. Sri Lankans enjoy a traditional Christmas meal that includes turkey, mince pies and Christmas pudding. Christians often share their Christmas feasts with non-Christians by bringing a platter full of Christmas dinner food.


While only 10% of Indonesia’s population is Christian, more than 20 million people! Christmas is an important holiday in Indonesia. Many local traditions vary from one region to the next. Christmas dinner in Papua is pork cooked between hot stones in the ground. The streets of Bali are lined with ornaments made from yellow coconut leaves. Christmas trees made entirely from chicken feathers are also found. Toraja marks the beginning of Christmas with the Lovely Dec festival. This is accompanied by traditional bamboo music, dancing, and local food. On December 26th, a procession and huge firework displays mark the end of Christmas.

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