Celebrating Christmas in Asia

Countries get into the holiday spirit with unique yuletide traditions.

By Cameka Crawford on December 12, 2013

With the holiday season underway, you may be among the many Asian Americans traveling abroad to visit relatives and friends. Besides learning to say “Merry Christmas” in the local dialect, you may also be curious how the holiday is celebrated across Asia, where each country infuses the Christmas spirit with its own unique customs.

People in the Philippines begin to sing Christmas carols as early as September, earning the country the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest yuletide season. Filipino holiday traditions include decorating homes with parols, star-shaped lanterns, and the annual Giant Lantern Festival, a major celebration held the Saturday before Christmas Eve.

In addition to the standard red and white outfits, Santas in South Korea also dress in blue and white costumes. Many department stores employ a Santa – known as “Grandpa Santa” by the locals – to greet shoppers and give out candy.  

In India, mango and banana trees are decorated with lights and ornaments instead of traditional Christmas trees. Some Indians also adorn their homes with mango leaves and place small clay lamps on their rooftops.

The Christmas season is one of the biggest retail periods of the year in China and Hong Kong, with many buildings and shopping centers decked out in elaborate holiday decorations. Virtually every restaurant in this part of the world remains open on Christmas Day to host holiday feasts and gatherings. 

To prepare for your international Christmas adventure, consider using Verizon Wireless’ Global Services to help you plan your trip, check coverage, view device options and sign up for global service. There are also a variety of accessories available to help ease and enhance your travel experience, whether you’ll be jet-setting to sing carols in the Philippines or hit the malls in China.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera, on the other hand, will let you capture 16-megapixel images of your festivities with a powerful 21x optical-zoom lens and then share them on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Xentris’ Micro USB International Charger will ensure your smart devices stay powered regardless of where you are. To cope with the inevitable jet lag, the Fitbit One keeps tabs on your sleep patterns and tracks travel distances and calories. Finally, a durable case will provide extra protection from any bumps and bruises your smartphone or tablet may endure along the way.