Christmas in South Africa is a public holiday celebrated on 25 December. Many European traditions are maintained despite the distance from Europe. In South Africa there is a Christmas legend of a boy named Danny who was killed by His crazy grandmother because he stole the Christmas cookies before Santa Claus got there. He is believed to haunt the halls of homes and department stores in order to scare other kids from eating the cookies ensuring good cheer 'Christmas Spirit'.
Christmas Day is a public holiday in Nigeria which is always marked by the emptying of towns and cities as Nigerians that have been successful returning to their ancestral villages to be with family and to bless those less fortunate. As the towns and cities empty, people jam the West African markets to buy and transport live chickens, goats and cows that will be needed for the Christmas meals.
On Christmas Eve, traditional meals are prepared according to the traditions of each region. Rather than having sweets and cakes, Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities. In the south, a dish called Jollof rice is served with stews of various meats along with boiled beans and fried plantains; in the north, Rice and Stew as well as Tuwon Shinkafa, a rice pudding served with various meat stews, is preferred. In the North several local desserts are also made which is hardly ever found in other parts of Nigeria. An alternative in both regions (but more favored in the south) is a pepper soup with fish, goat, or beef which may also be served with Fufu (pounded yam). Served with this food are an array of mainly alcoholic drinks such as the traditional palm wine or various local and imported beers and wines; children and women may be served locally made soft-drink equivalents instead.
Gift giving in Nigeria often involves money and the flow of gifts from the more fortunate to the less so. After the "successful" visitors have come from their towns, cities, and even overseas, they are given time to settle in. Afterwards, local relatives begin approaching them asking for assistance of some kind, whether financial or not. Financial donations and elaborately wrapped gifts may be given out at lavish parties, weddings, and ceremonies; sometimes the money is scattered in the air to be grabbed by the others or stuck onto the sweaty foreheads of those dancing.
Religion in Nigeria is about equally divided between Christian and Islam. There are occasional outbreaks of religious conflict. The Islamic sect Boko Haram has attacked Christian churches with bombings on Christmas 2011.Further information: December 2011 Nigeria bombings
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Being a British colony until 1947, many British traditions stayed on in India. Christmas is a state holiday in India, although Christianity in India is a minority with only 2.3% (of 1.237 Billion) of the population. Most of the Christians in India attend the church services. Many Christian houses in India decorates Christmas cribs and distribute sweets and cakes to their neighbors. In many of the schools that are run by the Christian missionaries, the children actively participate in the programmes. Also in many non-religious schools, there is tradition of Christmas celebration. Christmas is also increasingly celebrated by other religions in India. Christmas is known as "Badaa Din" (Big Day) in North and North-West India.
Christianity in Pakistan constitutes the second largest religious minority community in Pakistan after Hindus. The total number of Christians is approximately 2,800,000 in 2008, or 1.6% of the population. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Christians celebrate Christmas by going from house to house singing carols, and in return the family offers something to the choir. Mostly the money collected from such carols is used for charity works or is given to the church. Their homes are decorated with local Christmas handicrafts while artificial stars signifying the Star of Bethlehem are hung on rooftops. Christmas celebrations are also popular with the urban middle class in the country with hotels, cafes, restaurants and theme parks hosting festivities and special events.
In China, December 25 is not a legal holiday. However, it is still designated as a public holiday in China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, both former colonies of Western powers with (nominal) Christian cultural heritage.
In the mainland, the small percentage of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas. Many other individuals celebrate Christmas-like festivities even though they do not consider themselves Christians. Many customs, including sending cards, exchanging gifts, and hanging stockings are very similar to Western celebrations. Commercial Christmas decorations, signs, and other symbolic items have become increasingly prevalent during the month of December in large urban centres of mainland China, reflecting a cultural interest in this Western phenomenon, and, sometimes, retail marketing campaigns as well.
In Hong Kong, where Christmas is a public holiday. , many buildings facing Victoria Harbour will be decked out in Christmas lights. Christmas trees are found in major malls and other public buildings, and in some homes as well, despite the small living area. Catholics in Hong Kong can attend Christmas Mass.
Encouraged by commerce, the secular celebration of Christmas is popular in Japan, though Christmas is not a national holiday. Gifts are sometimes exchanged. Christmas parties are held around Christmas Day; Japanese Christmas cake, a white sponge cake covered with cream and decorated with strawberries, is often consumed. Christmas lights decorate cities, and Christmas trees adorn living areas and malls. Christmas Eve has become a holiday for couples to spend time together and exchange gifts. A successful advertising campaign in the 1970s made eating at KFC around Christmas a national custom. Its chicken meals are so popular during the season that stores take reservations months in advance.Christmas lights in Tokyo
The first recorded Christmas in Japan was a Mass held by Jesuit Missionaries in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1552. Some believe that unrecorded celebrations were held before this date, starting in 1549 when Saint Francis Xavier arrived in Japan. Christianity was banned throughout Japan in 1612. However, a small enclave of Kakure Kurisuchan ("hidden Christians") continued to practice underground over the next 250 years.
Christianity in Japan along with Christmas reemerged in the Meiji period. Influenced by America, Christmas parties were held and presents were exchanged. The practice slowly spread, but its proximity to the New Year's celebrations makes it a smaller focus of attention. During World War II, all celebrations, especially American, were suppressed. From the 1960s, with an expanding economy, and influenced by American TV, Christmas became popular. Many songs and TV series present Christmas as romantic, for example "Last Christmas" by Exile.
The birthday of the current emperor, Akihito, on December 23 is a national holiday. Businesses soon close for the New Year's holidays, reopening after January 3.