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I’m dreaming of a Hong Kong Christmas

Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas

Hong Kong does Christmas Decor in a Big WAY. Like Wow! I was so surprised to see the massive Christmas decorations— a mish mash of snowmen, gingerbread houses and flying Santas at every turn in this city, often called the World City of Asia.

Christmas wreaths, Merry Christmas banners, colorful lights, and the same sorts of ornaments. There were decorations, everywhere. Huge Christmas displays, involving not just oversized Christmas trees, but giant baubles, plastic deers, weighty-looking angels, oh my. It’s an odd scene. I shouldn’t have been surprised. My guess is that most of these decorations were made in Asia to be displayed in the West.

About half of the Hong Kong population adheres to traditional Chinese religion principles and traditions. The rest are a mix of Muslim, Christian and others.

Hong Kong is  the major shopping mecca of the Asian world.  Since Christmas has become a huge commercial holiday it makes sense that they would go all out to celebrate the Festive Season in the malls.

For the most part I thought it was a little bizarre. Do I sound like Grinch!? Probably.

I’m tired of the commercialization here in the Western World and some how I thought being in Asia would be, well, somehow subtle. Wrong. The only place I found peace and quiet was the Chin Le Nunery and Garden—an amazing treasure of a retreat—surrounded by sky scrappers.  I’m sure there are other oasis of peace and serenity in this massive city but I didn’t visit.

Chin Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong
Chin Lin Nunnery, Hong Kong

I did find all the selfie proud folks, sharing good tidings of Instagram amusing. Everywhere. Actually it was fun taking pictures of people taking pictures. All the posing. It was like the decor was set to be a backdrop for photos to share on Social Media. Look at me!

But maybe I need to look beyond the garish decor, the perpetual selfies and the blaring music and ponder at the bigger picture.

Andrew Sun of the South China Morning Post observed, “In Asia, celebrating Christmas also has a subtle cultural significance. It’s actually a way to demonstrate one’s worldly-ness. Santa Claus, Rudolp and a baby manager here and there represent cosmopolitanism and, in fact, an embrace of cultural diversity.

He continued, “We’re ok with foreigners and we whole heartedly embrace these exotic festivals of theirs. Just don’t make us drink their weird eggnog.”

It’s a healthy way to look at all the hubbub. And he’s right about the eggnog. Ghastly stuff.

Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
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Even the sides of large buildings are festooned with holiday images.
Hong Kong Christmas
Hong Kong Christmas
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

6 Comments
  1. posted by
    Barb Rohwer
    Dec 21, 2016 Reply

    I do believe that HC is in the running for most “kitschy” at Christmas. “Pondering the bigger picture” is always good. Loved tho photo of the garden…so serene.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Dec 22, 2016 Reply

      The nunnery was very serene. Beautiful oasis in the huge metropolis.

  2. posted by
    JoAnne
    Dec 21, 2016 Reply

    I loved this! I would never have guessed Hong Kong would embrace Christmas with such enthusiasm or see its symbols as a sign of worldliness. Thanks for such an interesting post!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Dec 22, 2016 Reply

      You are welcome. I appreciate your comment.

  3. posted by
    JULIE AND GEOFF HAWKSWORTH
    Dec 21, 2016 Reply

    That IS surprising, but I don’t think your comments make you grinchy, maybe just a purist (in a good way:)..in the US our decorations reflect our physical environment (Evergreen trees and snow), traditions and customs…so for countries that don’t have these to copy the decorations just seems wrong somehow (not legit as they say now:)). Having said that, I also can understand how they would find it irresistible to join in the fun – even though it is overly commercialized, Christmas time really is pretty nice – thanks Susan – nice blog!! xo

  4. posted by
    Mark Holzbach
    Dec 24, 2016 Reply

    I was in Kuala Lumpur two years ago at Christmas time. Malaysia, a majority Muslim nation, also goes crazy over Christmas. The energy, enthusiasm, and embrace of this imported holiday was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Also, Dana and I lived in Tokyo for five years, where we came across remarkable confusions like Santa on a Cross: http://www.yoshioitagaki.com/2008/ul/slideshow/Santa%20Cross-web.jpg

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