Christmas is around the corner which means it is time to start making plans for bringing in the festival of the year with friends and family. If you are in for celebrating an unusual Christmas this year, we suggest that you travel with your friends and family and discover the joy and spirit of Christmas in Asia, a continent highly underrated and undiscovered when it comes to Christmas tourism.
If you are looking for inspiration, here are top five places for celebrating Christmas with your friends and family in Asia:
The third-largest catholic nation in the world, Philippines puts up quite a show during the Christmas time. The celebrations here last all the way from September to the day of Christmas during which time streets and markets are decorated beautifully and assume a festive ambiance. The Giant Lantern Festival held in the city of San Fernando and a nine-day series of Christmas masses called ‘simbang gabi’ are the major highlights of the festival and the entire country participates in these events with a great enthusiasm.
Christmas is the biggest festival even in the multi-ethnic country of Singapore. The beautiful city is rendered even more stunning with Christmas decorations that are at their best at the Orchard Road, Singapore’s premier shopping destination and the centre for major Christmas events in the city. The malls are all bedecked in lights and a special ‘light-up ceremony’ is held approximately a month before Christmas. A countdown to Christmas pulls crowds to the Orchard Road where pyrotechnic displays light up the sky once the clock strikes midnight. A Christmas Village is set up where there’s something for the entertainment of all family members – food to fashion, DIY workshops to bouncy castles and music to live gigs.
Anyone looking to make Christmas special for their significant other should head to Japan where the festival is celebrated a little differently than its traditional rendition. Couples book date nights at the best restaurants in country and pamper each other with presents, great food and good wine. The streets and major landmarks are, of course, lit with flickering lights to make everything look just a little more gorgeous. The families have unique way of celebrating Christmas in Japan i.e. they order buckets of KFC at home to mark the occasion, a tradition that was established in the early 70s after the brand’s very successful Christmas campaign called ‘Kentucky for Christmas’!
The city of skyscrapers, Hong Kong is a visual delight during Christmas. Among the top Christmas events here is the Disney’s Sparkling Christmas celebration that sees the lead Disney characters donning festive apparel, marching in a festive parade whereas the park is decorated in sparkling Christmas lights. The marvellous Harbour City looks even more breathtaking during Christmas as the surrounding buildings are bathed in lights, their reflection in the water looking surreal. Taking an evening harbour cruise is one of the top things to do in Hong Kong during Christmas as is being part of the Victoria Harbour countdown to Christmas.
30% of people in Indonesia are Roman Catholics which explains the country’s zest for Christmas. Different regions in Indonesia have their own Christmas traditions that range from cooking a traditional meal of sweet potato, water spinach, fern, cassava, spinach, and papaya to dancing to a traditional music instrument called ‘tifa’. In some regions of the country such as Yogyakarta, a church mass led by the priest is held. ‘Christmas Safaris’ by regional government officers are not unheard of as is a cultural festival called Lovely December.