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Christmas Traditions in Hong Kong

Christmas Traditions in Hong Kong

posted: 2018-12-18 11:50:00 +0800

More than 160 countries from around the world celebrate Christmas, including Hong Kong. How did Christmas come to Hong Kong and how is it currently celebrated today in comparison to its Western counterparts? Christmas has its obvious origins with Christianity so when Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842, many of the expats started celebrating Christmas which also contributed to the rise of Christianity in Hong Kong. In 2016, according to the Hong Kong government, around 859,000 people in Hong Kong people are Christian (approximately 12% of the population), with the majority of them being Protestant. However, the larger majority of religious followers still favour Chinese traditions like Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism or local gods and ancestors. It wasn’t however really until the 1970s that local Hong Kong people began to celebrate Christmas.

Even outside of the Christian community, local Hong Kong people celebrate Christmas with lights, decorations, Christmas trees (though often small plastic ones due to restrictions in living space), will give gifts to loved ones and friends, and is a much-anticipated event by many local children as they open gifts on Christmas morning. Children can even go and visit Santa at many malls and shopping areas like many Western countries. Hong Kong is also known for its beautiful Christmas light displays and they are popular spots for couples and families to visit during the winter.


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Christmas in Hong Kong, in general, is a time when the locals go shopping, relax, attend festivities, take a vacation, do something romantic with a partner, and attend parties with friends or sing karaoke. Christmas in Hong Kong is less of family-affair than it is in the West. Some family dinners are still held but in general, large family gatherings and solemnity is reserved for other special holidays like the Mid Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year. Christmas is treated more light-heartedly and is highly commercialized in both Hong Kong and China, with Christmas Eve being one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The spending spree usually begins on Single’s Day on November 11th and continues onward to the Chinese New Year.

Did you know? “Merry Christmas” (聖誕快樂)is pronounced “sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6” in Cantonese.


Christmas Day and Boxing Day are public holidays in Hong Kong and have been since about the 1970s, though they are not in mainland China. Political stances aside, Christmas it is still a prominent holiday for many mainland Chinese businesses and people, despite it not generally being welcomed holiday, especially not within its religious contexts, by the mainland Chinese government.


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As Hong Kong has large expat community, there are other various Christmas traditions that many families celebrate based on their home country and upbringing. This diverse mix of traditions, cultures and people make Hong Kong a wonderful place to be during and outside of the Christmas season.


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This is a Hong Kong GGB original 'Christmas Traditions in Hong Kong ' blogpost.
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blog written by: # Danielle Roberts (118)
Danielle Roberts, Editor

Danielle is a Canadian freelance writer and ESL teacher who has called Hong Kong home since 2016.     > more...

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