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Jingle All The Way – A Very Hong Kong Christmas

ICON-GUIDE

You won’t see snow – at least not real snow – but in many other respects Christmas in Hong Kong is celebrated just as fervently as across the rest of the world, with bells jingling almost at every turn. It wasn’t always this way, of course, until the former colonial rulers of Britain started the trend for the celebrations seen across the city today. 

 

British rule in Hong Kong, from 1841 onwards, bought with it the emergence and subsequent growth of Christianity as one of the defining cultural characteristics of the Fragrant Harbour. At the time the city was largely a mix of adherents of Buddhism and Taoism, but in time both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism were adopted. Fast forward a century and a half and around ten percent of the city to this day identify themselves as Christian.

Christmas is of course much more broadly celebrated today and not based solely on religious grounds. In fact you’d be hard pressed to find people not marking it in at least some way. Although it will never come close to rivalling Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn festival and more, when Christmas was named a statutory public holiday, workers found themselves with the perfect excuse to learn more about "Sing Daan Lou Yan" as Santa Claus is known in Cantonese.

Of course in one of the world’s most commercially-minded metropolises, it wasn’t long before consumerism and the opportunity for business were seized upon. Special light shows across the harbor and iconic skyline – for years a popular fixture – took on festive feels. Malls went all-out to top one another’s decorations, attractions and draw in the shoppers, while there was even the seasonal development of Prince Edward’s flower market becoming a mini Alpine wonderland - for a few weeks at least.

 

One thing visitors will notice in Hong Kong – particularly on Christmas Day itself – is that the city seems to carry on life as normal. Most stores are open as normal, while families flock to the movies, belt out karaoke classics or try their luck at ice skating. 

One thing visitors will notice in Hong Kong – particularly on Christmas Day itself – is that the city seems to carry on life as normal. Most stores are open as normal, while families flock to the movies, belt out karaoke classics or try their luck at ice skating. 

 

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