Monday, December 19, 2011

Random Asianess: Christmas Comes to Taiwan

It's hard to get a picture downtown without a taxi
Hey something’s happening in Taiwan this year.  Last year Christmas was a background noise in Taiwan.  Christians, mostly foreigner Christians, celebrated it, but other than that it was unseen.  Houses weren’t decorated and retailers acted like it didn’t exist for the most part. My kids were bumming out, “This isn’t like Christmas at home.”  I said, “Oh really?  Do you live here?  Then this must be home.”  They call me the great comforter and now you can see why.

But this year, it’s a whole new ballgame.  Christmas cheer has sprung up all over.  There are light displays, huge plastic reindeer, snowmen, Santa Claus and even Christmas music (albeit all in English). 

See what I mean. There only hard to find when you need one!
Of course, it isn’t a holiday here and everyone still has to work.  The only reason people are off for Christmas this year is that it’s Sunday.  Sunday is the day most people are off anyway.  People don’t exchange gifts; they think that’s just a part of American Culture.  No one you meet on the street says Merry Christmas.  It just hasn’t become a popular holiday here.

One interesting thing is that I’ve seen Christmas presented in a teenage drama as a romantic day:  A day for romance.  Why is that?  It’s because from a Christian perspective Christmas is about the love of God toward mankind.  This is the celebration of God’s sending a redeemer to redeem mankind back into a relationship with God, from the destruction of that relationship through sin.  But in Taiwan the Christian perspective is a minority perspective.  Only two percent of the population is involved in “western” religions and that includes non-Christian religions.  They only know it as a day of love and have made it a kind of romantic day. 

When I say Christmas has come to Taiwan, what I mean is that Xmas has come to Taiwan’s retailers.  It’s retail businesses that have really begun to decorate for Christmas.  I have this cynical idea that maybe; just maybe they’re looking to make a profit off Christmas.  Hmmm, does this sound familiar?  But you know, if the retail advertisers do their job, who knows in a couple of short years Christmas might be a big seller for them.  That’s what happened with Valentines Day in the U.S., card companies sold it big time and now just try and ignore it. I double dog dare you.

Following are jpg images of Taiwanese Christmas cards I’ve received:

 Oh yeah I forgot…I haven’t received any Taiwanese Christmas Cards.  I don’t know if it’s because Taiwanese people don’t send them or I’m just not popular.  My money’s on the latter, though.  How sad is that?  Anyway from the Taiwan Adventure 聖誕快樂 (sheng Dan Kuai le)  Merry Christmas.

I Guess Santa's Elves Don't Like Germs

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