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Malaysia Festivals ~ Christmas


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~ Christmas ~
Festival Date - 25 DEC 12

Christmas celebrations here in Malaysia are a little different from the rest of the world, where Christians celebrate the Nativity, or the birth of Christ

Held annually on Dec 25th, Christians celebrate the Nativity, or the birth of Christ. The origin of the festival is obscure and scholars believe that it is derived in part from rites held by pre-Christian Germanic and Celtic peoples to celebrate winter solstice. 

Christians have generally observed Christmas festivals since the 4th century. At times incorporating pagan customs, such as the use of holly, mistletoe, Yule logs and wassail bowls. The Christmas tree itself, an evergreen trimmed with lights and other decorations, is derived from the so-called paradise tree, symbolizing Eden of German mystery plays. 


The origin of the Christmas tree began early in the 17 century, in Strasbourg, France, spreading to Germany and then into northern Europe. In 1841 Albert, Prince consort of Queen Victoria, introduced the Christmas tree custom to Great Britain. From there the tradition accompanied immigrants to the U.S. Meanwhile, Dutch settlers had brought to the New World the custom of celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6th, and especially, St. Nicholas Eve, when gifts were given to children of whom the saint was patron. British settlers took over the tradition as part of their Christmas-eve celebration.

The English name of the legendary jolly, red-garbed man on the sleigh who delivers presents to good children at Christmas, Santa Claus, is derived from the Dutch 'Sinterklaas', a modification of Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus here is often referred to as "Father Christmas"

Here in Malaysia, since we live in a multi cultural country with no snow. All Malaysians tend to celebrate all festive seasons visiting friends and families in their homes during the festive season.


Shopping malls put up their decorations and lights and Christians put their Christmas trees up one to two weeks before Christmas. Carolling practice begins in the middle of December with carollers going from house-to-house one week before Christmas in their respective zones. There is also someone along dressed up as Santa Claus and handing out sweets to the young ones.


As with everywhere, Christmas preparations are done up to the last minute of December 24th. On Christmas Eve, Christians dress up in their new clothes and go to church for midnight services. Before mass begins they normally have sketches or plays by the children and Christmas carolling. 

After services, everyone wishes each other "Merry Christmas". Some go home, while others go party elsewhere. In most Christian homes, it is a tradition to say a short prayer before doing anything else. After the prayers most families have wine and fruit cake to toast Christmas. After this, gifts are exchanged and they snap plenty of photos of the person opening the gifts. Once the excitement has died down they head on to bed.

On Christmas day, families have a feast and this is the time when friends of all faiths make their rounds to wish Merry Christmas. Some visitors bring presents and gifts. The children laugh with joy as they receive gifts and money in a modified version of 'ang-pow' from friends and relatives.

 


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