Christmas has always been a large holiday in the United States. Some might even consider it the largest commercial holiday that the American’s have – and it can be celebrated by religious and non-religious people alike. Christmas can be celebrated worldwide, though some countries do so a little differently. China and Japan have some different traditions than we have in the States, but some of them might seem a little familiar.
Though Christmas (December 25th) is not a legal holiday in China, it is still a public holiday. In Hong Kong and Macau, which had former connections with Western government, the Christian culture has stronger roots, and so the holiday is observed. The Christian faith has a small percentage of believers in China, and those who practice the religion observe the holiday with a Christmas card, gifts and stockings – much like you would see in America. The commercial aspect of Christmas, with its decorations and the such, are more common in large urban centers, as many Chinese people are interested in all things Western. Christmas lights are seen in buildings that face Victoria Harbour (in Hong Kong), and Christmas trees are found in malls and public buildings, with even a few homes adopting the tradition.
Secular celebration of Christmas is quite common in Japan, especially the commercial aspect of it. Children receive gifts that are put next to their sleeping heads, and a white cream and strawberry cake is popular at Christmas parties and celebrations. Christmas Eve is celebrated by couples, who typically exchange gifts. Because Christmas is so close to New Year’s, it tends to get a smaller focus – one that is non-religious and tributary. Like Christmas Eve, it is often considered a holiday for lovers, and is often portrayed that way in television shows and songs.
The current emperor of Japan was born on December 23rd, which is considered a national holiday. Businesses usually close for the New Year’s holidays, and so Christmas is celebrated by many.
Though Christmas is often celebrated differently across the world, it always brings families together to build happy memories.