Christmas in Asia
Start writing a post

Your Guide To Celebrating Christmas In Southeast Asia

Despite religious and cultural differences, the Westernized version of Christmas has been adopted into local culture throughout several countries in Southeast Asia.

Your Guide To Celebrating Christmas In Southeast Asia

If you go to certain Southeastern countries like Singapore or Japan for the holidays, and if you go to Western countries like the United States and Canada for the holidays, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference due to the acculturation of Westernized Christmas traditions. The following is your guide to Christmas across Southeast Asia.


For such a small island, the Christmas spirit is certainly very prominent and widespread. Christmas here is celebrated less as a religious holiday and more of a commercial and secular celebration occupied by eating and shopping with family and friends. Orchard Road, Singapore's famous shopping district, gets decked out with dazzling lights and serves as a transparent reminder to go shopping. The Christmas spirit is also spread across the island through pop up holiday menus at restaurants and fake snow!

Hong Kong

Christmas is a public holiday in Hong Kong. This island was a British colony until 1997, and the Western influence is definitely still felt throughout life, especially during Christmas. There are large Christmas trees everywhere and lit lights strewn along the streets. Every year, there is a 'Winterfest,' a huge winter party that involves the shops, theme parks, and other attractions of Hong Kong, which literally lights up the island.

The Philippines

Since more than 80 percent of Filipinos claim to be Roman Catholic, Christmas is celebrated throughout the country as a religious holiday. They start the countdown to Christmas as early as September, lasting into January, making it one of the longest celebrations of Christmas in the world. Christmas traditions in the Philippines are a mixture of western and native Filipino traditions, so it's normal to see Santa Claus, Christmas carols, and Christmas ornaments in this country. Meanwhile, their own Christmas traditions include hanging up their unique lighted star lantern made from bamboo strips called 'parol.'


Christmas celebrations in Japan include usual Christian traditions without its religious meanings since only one percent of its population are actually Christians. Their Christmas decorations include all the long-established elements: the Nativity scene, the Christmas trees, the mistletoe. Meanwhile, they also have their own traditional spin on Christmas; their Santa Claus is called Hoteiosho, a Buddhist monk who bears gifts for children and who is believed to be a jolly and happy soul.

South Korea

Christmas here is celebrated more here than in other Asian countries like China since Christians make up about 25 to 30 percent of the population. Christmas is an official public holiday, with churches decorated with lights, trees adorned with glittering luminescence, and department stores putting on dazzling light displays. Unlike Singapore, Christmas in South Korea is primarily a religious holiday and less an excuse for shopping; families still put up Christmas trees and people exchange presents, but they'll also attend mass or a church service on Christmas Day.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
What College Girls Remember from their Summers as a Kid

Yes, summer is almost here.. so what should we remember

Keep Reading... Show less
The 100 Things Millennials have ruined: A Comprehensive List

Millennials: the generation everyone loves to hate. The babies of 1980 to 1995 take a lot of heat. I mean, we inherited a crashed economy, earn stagnant wages, live with crippling student loan debt, and try to enact change in a rigged system but our affinity for avocado toast and use of technology has wrecked society as we know it! As a tail end millennial, I wanted to know what I was ruining and, like any other annoying millennial would, I did some research. I scoured the internet, read online newspapers and scrolled through every listicle I could find. So, in case you needed another reason to resent the millennial in your life, here are the 100 industries we've killed, things we've ruined or concepts we've destroyed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

This month, Odyssey brings about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community.

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

It's no secret that even in 2018 our country still struggles with discrimination of all kinds. Society labels individuals by the color of their skin, heritage, religion, sexuality, gender, size, and political beliefs. You are either privileged or you're not. However, here's the thing, anxiety doesn't care about your privilege. Anxiety doesn't discriminate.

Keep Reading... Show less
College Boy Charm is Real and it's Very Sexy

After surviving a year of college and watching "Clueless" countless times, I've come to the conclusion that college boy charm is very much a real thing and it's very very attractive. It's easiest explained through Paul Rudd's character, Josh, in "Clueless". The boy who has a grip on his life and is totally charming. In this article, I will list the qualities of a specimen with College Boy Charm, to help you identify him at your next party or other social events.

Keep Reading... Show less

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

As Tik-Tokers rise to fame, do their 'copy-cat' dances deserve the clout?

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

Oh, the wonders of social media. Trends come and go just as quick as a story on Instagram, everyone posting for their shot at fifteen minutes of fame, and the ever growing following of a new type of celebrity- social media influencers and content creators. Everyone who owns a smartphone probably has Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and now Tik-Tok, as it's growing to be a major social media platform for teenagers and young adults. Tik Tok became popular in the United States in late 2019 and since then has grown a considerable amount. Personally, I was one to make fun of Tik-Tok and say it was a dumb app like or Triller, and now months later, I spend more time on it than I do on Instagram.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments