Christmas Customs

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Businesses soon close for the New Year's holidays, reopening after January 3. Christmas is a public holiday in South Korea. Being a British colony until , many British traditions stayed on in India.


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Most of the Christians, especially Catholics in India attend the midnight mass. In many of the schools that are run by the Christian missionaries, the children actively participate in Christmas programs. Also in many non-religious schools, there is tradition of Christmas celebration.

Christmas is also increasingly celebrated by other religions in India. Christianity in Pakistan constitutes the second largest religious minority community in Pakistan after Hindus.


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  • The total number of Christians is approximately 2,, in , or 1. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Christians celebrate Christmas by going from house to house singing carols, and in return the family offers something to the choir. Their homes are decorated with local Christmas handicrafts while artificial stars signifying the Star of Bethlehem are hung on rooftops.

    Christmas celebrations are also popular with the urban middle class in the country with hotels, cafes, restaurants and theme parks hosting festivities and special events. As of December 22, , Christmas is completely banned in Brunei [27] but for its expatriate and local Christian community, it is still celebrated as usual privately amongst themselves , which includes putting up Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols, Nativity plays, festive greeting, and even dressing as Santa Claus. About 20 percent of the population are non-Muslims and anyone caught will face up to five years in jail.

    Before the Sharia law was passed in , non-Muslim expats were free to celebrate Christmas in Brunei. The Christmas in Indonesia locally known as Natal , from the Portuguese word for Christmas , is one of many public holidays in Indonesia which approximately Most local television channels will broadcast Christmas musical concerts and annual national Christmas celebrations like concerts and Christmas shows which are held by the government.

    Like other countries, on Christmas Eve, people will go to church for Misa and will go to church again the next morning, and exchanging gifts is a usual tradition for Christians in Indonesia.

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    In addition to traditional foods, generally every Christmas Day is filled with cookies, like nastar pineapple tart , kastengel from Dutch word kasteengel , or ' putri salju '. Although Christmas is a public holiday in Malaysia , much of the public celebration is commercial in nature and has no overt religious overtones. Occasionally, Christian activist groups do buy newspaper advertorials on Christmas or Easter but this is largely only allowed in English newspapers and permission is not given every year. The advertorials themselves are usually indirect statements.

    There has been controversy over whether or not the national government has exerted pressure on Malaysian Christians not to use Christian religious symbols and hymns that specifically mention Jesus Christ. Christmas in the Philippines, [32] one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia the other one being East Timor , is one of the biggest holidays on the calendar and is widely celebrated.

    The country has earned the distinction of celebrating the world's longest Christmas season, with Christmas carols heard as early as September 1 when the " Ber Months " season kicks off traditionally. The season is officially ushered in by the nine-day dawn Masses that start on December As in many East Asian countries, secular Christmas displays are common both in business establishments and in public, including lights, Christmas trees, depictions of Santa Claus despite the tropical climate, and Christmas greetings in various foreign languages and various Philippine languages.

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    Occasionally such displays are left in place even in summer for example the parol representing the "Star of Bethlehem" which led the Three Kings to the newborn Baby Jesus. Some would also open presents at this time. In spite of the campaign against firecrackers, many Filipinos still see these as the traditional means to greet the New Year. The loud noises and sounds of merrymaking are also supposed to drive away bad spirits.

    Safer methods of merrymaking include banging on pots and pans and blowing on car horns. Folk beliefs also include encouraging children to jump at the stroke of midnight in the belief that they will grow up tall, displaying circular fruit and wearing clothes with dots and other circular designs to symbolize money, eating twelve grapes at 12 midnight for good luck in the twelve months of the year, and opening windows and doors during the first day of the New Year to let in good luck.

    Some children leave their shoes out, in the belief that the Three Kings will leave gifts like candy or money inside. Christmas is a public holiday in Singapore that is widely celebrated. The famous Singaporean shopping belt Orchard Road , as well as the Marina Bay area will feature lights and other decorations from early November till early January the part is November 14, all the way until January 5, The Christmas light-up and decorated shopping malls along Orchard Road often attract numerous visitors, locals and tourists alike.

    Other than the light-up, other activities such as caroling, concerts and parades can also be experienced in Orchard Road. In addition, companies in Singapore usually arrange gift exchange programs on the last working day before Christmas.


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    • Christmas is not a national holiday but is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam. Vietnamese may be more accepting of corporate influence because for many, Christmas was never based on personal values to begin with. Instead, it's a time to go out on the town, shop, and take pictures with friends in front of colorful displays, especially on December Armenians usually celebrate Christmas on January 6. The reason for this unusual date emerges from ancient history.

      It also coincides with the Epiphany. When the Gregorian calendar was implemented in , the Armenians rejected the reformed calendar and remained following the Julian Calendar. Since the Julian calendar is thirteen days ahead of the Gregorian Calendar, when the Armenians of Jerusalem celebrate Christmas on January 6 according to the Julian calendar the Gregorian calendar counts the day as January Traditionally, Armenians fast during the week leading up to Christmas avoiding all meat, eggs, and dairy products.

      Christmas Eve is particularly rich in traditions. Dessert includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik , which consists of whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly, bastukh a paper-like confection of grape jelly, cornstarch, and flour , etc. This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner.

      Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives. Christmas in the Armenian tradition is a purely religious affair. Assyrians colloquially call Christmas Eda Zora, meaning "little holiday. In Iraq, for instance, on Christmas Eve, Assyrian families congregate outside of their house and hold lighted candles while a child reads aloud the nativity story. Then they all sing psalms over a bonfire made of thorn bushes. Folklore says that if the thorns burn to ashes, the family will have good luck.

      After the fire has been reduced to ashes, the family members will jump three times over the ashes and make a wish. He blesses one person with a touch. That person touches the next person and the touch passes around until all have felt the touch of peace. These two dishes are only made twice a year: on Christmas and Easter. Traditional desserts eaten after the main course include Killeche, a date and walnut-stuffed cookie, and Kadeh, another stuffed pastry.

      After the feast is finished, Assyrians will visit the houses of family and friends to exchange Christmas greetings, saying, " Eedokhon breekha, " meaning "May your feast be blessed. Although Christmas is celebrated in a much more religious fashion, in recent years, families put up a small Christmas tree in the house. Christmas is an official holiday in Lebanon. Lebanese celebrate Christmas on December 25, except for Armenian Lebanese who celebrate Christmas on January 6 which is also an official holiday in Lebanon.

      Lebanese families come together and butcher a sheep for a Christmas Eve feast, in honor of the birth of The Shepherd Jesus Christ. On that night the head of the house passes around a piece of coal representing the sins before Christ.

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      Christmas is observed widely on December Governments recognizing the holiday include those of: the United States, where it is a federal holiday for federal employees and a legal holiday in the respective States; Canada, where it is a nationwide statutory holiday ; Mexico, where it is also a nationwide statutory holiday ; and several others. In the Canadian provinces where English is the predominant language, Christmas traditions are largely similar to those of the United States, with some lingering influences from the United Kingdom and newer traditions brought by immigrants from other European countries.

      Mince pies , plum pudding , and Christmas cake are traditionally served as Christmas dinner desserts, following the traditional meal of roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and winter vegetables. Christmas table crackers are not uncommon and, in some parts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia , Christmas traditions include mummers. North American influences on Christmas are evident in the hanging of stockings on Christmas Eve, to be filled by Santa Claus. As Canada is a cold, dark country in winter, lights are often put up in public places and on commercial and residential buildings in November and December.

      The Royal Christmas Message from the Canadian monarch is televised nationwide in Canada, the occasion being an observance which unites Canadians with citizens of the other Commonwealth countries worldwide. The observation of Boxing Day on the day following Christmas Day is a tradition practiced in Canada, as it is in many other Anglophone countries, although not in the United States.

      In Canada, Boxing Day is a day or the beginning of a few days of deeply discounted sale prices at retail stores which attract large numbers of shoppers in search of bargains. Christmas is a widely celebrated festive holiday in the United States, [54] and Christmas Day is officially recognized as a federal holiday by the US Government.

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      The Christmas and holiday season begins around the end of November with a major shopping kickoff on Black Friday , the day after the U. Many schools and businesses are closed during the period between Christmas and the New Year's Day holiday, which is a time commonly used to spend time with family and close friends, return unwanted gifts at stores, and shop after-Christmas sales. Most decorations are taken down by New Years or Epiphany.