Christmas in Taiwan

In both recent years I went back to Germany in December, but this year I don’t have much of the time and I further would like to go to Germany during the summer of next year. Going back to Germany every six months is not really possible, so once again I will spend Christmas in Taiwan.

I already spent Christmas in Taiwan for three times. The first time was in 2004 and at that time I thought that it might be something special because it was the first time ever that I didn’t spend Christmas in Germany. After that, however, Christmas in Taiwan became more and more unimportant to me. Recently, many stores in Taipei put up Christmas trees, one can hear Christmas songs from many loudspeakers, the bus drivers of Capital Bus wear Santa Clause costumes etc.

This is all sounds like spreading a certain Christmas atmosphere, isn’t it? However, I think that many people might see Christmas as a plaything. What I don’t understand is: What connection to Christmas do people in Taiwan actually have? Why is there so much effort to decorate many places, but no one cares for Easter? It is probably not related to Christianity, is it? But what about customs?

It’s true that the Christmas tree is of pagan origin and that Santa Claus comes from European folk tales….and the inspiration of Coca Cola 😉 And of course, Christmas is not only limited to Christian societies. However, when taking a closer look, Christmas doesn’t only consist of Christmas trees, Christmas songs, Santa Claus etc……Christmas is a certain feeling. I think the best way to further describe it, is to compare it with Chinese New Year. What kind of feeling do you have when you spend New Years Eve in a foreign country? Of course you can eat, sing, play Mahjiang etc. with friends, but is this feeling identical with Chinese New Year in Taiwan?

For me, Christmas in Taiwan is neither one thing nor the other. Of course, one can see all these Christmas symbols outside, but is this special Christmas feeling really inside the people’s minds? It’s probably more a feeling of having fun, which is not bad since Christmas for sure is a holiday to have fun, but it is also a holiday of contemplation…..the night before Christmas is also called the Holy Night…..and I bet you know all the song „Silent Night„…..well, my friends, this exactly is Christmas atmosphere…..a feeling of which I suppose that it can be very hardly found in Taiwan…..


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