You'd be surprised at how big Christmas is in Asia. Because of the continent's many cultures and religious beliefs, it's easy to think that this holiday isn't as important here. But you couldn't be more wrong! From the vibrant major cities like Shanghai and Singapore to the Roman Catholic country of the Philippines, Christmas is a bigger deal in Asia than you think! In fact, you might even end up enjoying spending the holiday season here more than anywhere else. Why? Well, because of the delicious food, the interesting traditions, and the stunning displays, among others.
The Delicious and Unique Holiday Cuisines
Although Asia has a ton of delicious cuisines, it's a bit different when it comes to the holiday season. Since Christmas is a largely Western holiday, only very few Asian countries have their own traditional holiday dishes and desserts. Most of the time, people simply eat their local cuisines or the usual Christmas staples (Christmas ham, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, etc.). But then there's Japan, for instance, which has quite a unique holiday dish: KFC! Modern-day Japan has embraced Kentucky Fried Chicken as their choice Christmas dinner dish. That's why come late December, KFC stores throughout the country run out of stock!
The Fascinating Traditions
Speaking of fascinating traditions, spending Christmas in Asia will help you discover a lot of them. Though there are many different holiday traditions
out there, the ones in this part of the world will definitely pique your interest. One good example is in the Philippines. While the Western hemisphere sleep on Christmas eve, Filipinos hear mass and serve up big feasts instead. They call it the 'Noche Buena
' and just like on New Year's Eve, they stay up all night just to hear the clock strike 12! And in China, they give their loved ones engraved apples alongside their gifts.
The Lavish Displays and Decorations
To say that Christmas in Asia is beautiful is an understatement! Countries in this part of the world go all out in their holiday display and decorations! A great example is Christmasland in New Taipei City in Taiwan. Right in the middle of Xianmin Boulevard in the Banqiao District, they set up a famous Christmas tree surrounded by a holiday fantasyland you won't want to miss. And going back to the Philippines, another of their famous traditions is making huge lanterns called the 'parol
.' Made in various local materials in different colors, they light up people's homes in such a magical way!
The Incredible Christmas Shopping
If the 2018 rom-com 'Crazy Rich Asians
' proved something, it's that Asians love to shop. In wealthy cities like Singapore
, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and more, shopping is practically a way of life. And it's even more so during the holiday season. From luxury brands to the best bargains, you can get your hands on various goods to give to your loved ones. Some of them even start their holiday sales way in advance. As early as September, many places throughout Asia are already offering up their Christmas discounts. What's not to love?
The Family Reunions and Big Gatherings
A good sense of family is common throughout the different cultures in Asia. Whether you're in East Asia or Southeast Asia, or even in the Middle East, family is very important. And you can bet that they spend more time with each other during the holiday season. Just like with their seasonal sales, families are already preparing their Christmas celebrations as early as September. They're planning their reunions, parties, menus for dinner, and more. And on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, everyone is spending quality time with their loved ones.
Celebrating Christmas in Asia is truly unlike any other! They have unique dishes to serve, fascinating traditions to discover, and extravagant celebrations to join. You might just end up wanting to spend every holiday season here afterward!