The holidays are approaching and we are not only looking for gifts but also wondering with whom we will spend Christmas. Some wonder where they have the opportunity to take a trip. Maybe not this year but the idea of spending these dates away from home is taking shape with force, and who knows? Maybe next year they will be a long way off.
As far away as in some Asian country? It can be fun and it will surely be different because it is not that these countries are characterized by having a large population of Christians. However, from the hand of merchandising Christmas colors and customs have been installed with greater or lesser force in countries such as Japan, South Korea, China ... Let's see then what are the best places to spend Christmas in Asia.
First you have to say that Christmas is not a public holiday in mainland China and Taiwan, that is, it is not a holiday. Yes it is in Hong Kong and in Macau, Chinese cities that function as autonomous regions. Here the western influence is much heavier (Hong Kong was for a century an English colony and Macao a Portuguese).
The Chinese take commercial advantage of these dates. Thus, for some time now there is a time of the year where sales skyrocket. All the shops and malls are decorated with the typical colors and lights and the restaurants are often "Christmas dinners". The general appearance of cities begins to change right now, at the end of November. The youngest usually get together with friends and organize Christmas parties with drinks, food and karaoke
The idea is to take advantage of the party to get together for a while, but since the vast majority are Buddhists, they have nothing to do with religion. Of course, Christian Chinese do live this as a religious moment so they go to churches, to masses and even developed their own custom: eat apples because the word apple in Mandarin sounds like peace. So don't be surprised if you see Chinese eating apples at Christmas.
If you go to Hong Kong or Macau there are two public holidays, December 25 and 26. Banks close but stores open on the 26th and there are many offers to take advantage of. In Macao it is a public holiday on the 24th and 25th and the 26th is added to the closing of banks. The truth is that Hong Kong is a great city to spend Christmas. Not for nothing does CNN say that Christmas in HK is the best of the best.
You can attend the function of the Nutcracker at the Hong Kong Ballet, listen to Christmas music from the hand of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, la Symphony of Lights that is reflected on the buildings, the exhibits in the malls, the elegant dinners in the hotels or Disneyland HK that is all decorated since the middle of this month. The Hong Kong Winter Fest begins next November 25 and ends on January 1. And obviously, there are hundreds of fireworks on January 1.
En Beijing You won't see as much party around Christmas, but the younger generations are changing this. Although at the moment, it is only a commercial phenomenon. And what about prices and tourism? Congratulations go down because the peak season is in February, with the Chinese New Year.
It is a very present party since Christians represent between 25 and 30% of the population. Buddhism remains, yes, the dominant religion. It's a holiday and people neither study nor work. Only one day because on the 26th they return to their activities and there are no holidays until New Years.
The decorations are very bright and since there are more churches than in China there are special masses and services that people, even non-Christians, attend. Shopping malls are decorated, there are trees everywhere and gifts are exchanged. He even eats the Christmas cake, a cake that is bought in the bakery and does not have any special ingredients. Families get together, restaurants fill with people, and some couples even find everything very romantic.
Best Christmas decorations are those of Hilton Millennium Seoul Hotel, with trains traveling through a snowy landscape of mountains and forests in the middle of the lobby and a Santa Claus to take photos. Another hotel famous for its decorations is the Great hyatt, which places a huge tree in the lobby filled with LED lights and features a rink to skate at night.
The Lotte department store is another very yyy decorated place, inside and out, also the Shinsegae Mall, Times Square, Myeong-dong Cathedral and the Everland Christmas Fantasy amusement center.
Christmas is a party that it has been celebrated for a relatively short time here. 20 or 30 years. Obviously it is not a religious holiday because there are not many Japanese Christians. Most of the Christmas customs in Japan have been imported from the United States, from the time that this country occupied the nation after World War II.
Christmas here it is a time to spend with friends and family, to be happy and have fun. And the night of the 24th is celebrated much more strongly than the night of the 25th itself. Couples often even take it as a romantic day so it is common to see dozens of couples who exchange gifts.
Do you want to read something weird? Fried chicken is the Christmas food and where can you buy Fried chicken? Well in KFC! So finding a place in this fast food chain can be difficult…. It all dates back to a 1974 company ad campaign that was so successful that it established a tradition: eat fried chicken at Christmas. Anyway, the most traditional eat the Christmas cake, a sponge cake with whipped cream and fruits, nothing complicated.
Schools close on December 25 and since the 23rd is the emperor's birthday and on New Years there is no work, it is a free week that starts on the 23rd. Of course, most stores open on the 25th so you won't see many changes.
The truth is that spending Christmas away from home is sometimes sad and sometimes fun. Of course, it is always unforgettable and spending it in a non-Christian destination makes it more special because you realize the religious diversity of the world.