Christmas Eve at Pacific Place Mall, Hong Kong
In most parts of the west, Christmas is quiet. Stores are closed and people are spending time with their family. Not so in Hong Kong. Though Christmas is celebrated commercially (kids see Santa, homes often have trees and of course, malls and streets are decorated), the Christian population is relatively small (though many have attended Christian-based schools (usually Catholic or Anglican) and it isn’t seen as just a religious holiday. Therefore, people just go out. On Christmas Eve, for example, streets are so packed that they have police and security. It’s probably almost as busy as Times Square on New Year’s Eve! People can even be found hanging at the mall, admiring the Christmas decorations and posing for pictures, even though stores are closed for the day.
Causeway Bay area, December 25
Christmas Day is no different. Besides the many Christmas brunches one can attend at the many hotels and restaurants, many also attend the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo, which is now in its 45th year. This annual event showcases and sells local brands and products, often giving attendees special deals. This event runs several days, but Christmas is probably when it is the busiest. It makes Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth feel dead! The shopping districts are also quite busy. The Causeway Bay area, for example, was absolutely packed (a great place to go if you want moderately-priced brands) with shoppers.
It’s interesting how people in other parts of the world celebrate the holidays. Since Christmas isn’t the most major holiday in Hong Kong (Chinese New Year is – this is when the city is absolutely DEAD for several days), people just take it as another few days off that just happens to be a little more “special” and fun.