by John Hawkins | December 23, 2002 9:57 am
Christmas Round The World: Every year about this time we hear stories about politically correct grinches who gleefully try to do everything possible to ruin Christmas for as many people possible. They file lawsuits when towns put up Christmas decorations, high schools aren’t allowed to mention Christmas, they even protest high schools singing songs they think have religious content. Yet, when we look at other countries, nations not necessarily known for their tolerance, they can handle Christmas without a problem….
“Five Santas from Sweden arrived in Beijing earlier this month. Bakeries sell “Christmas cakes,” a Japanese innovation on the holiday. It is now fashionable for couples to visit the government-sanctioned cathedral in Beijing on Christmas Eve. On Dec. 1, a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” was permitted for the first time in the Forbidden City Music Hall; the conductor was an expatriate, but the alto and tenor roles were sung by mainland Chinese.”
….Christmas candlelight services and music are also gaining momentum in Tokyo. At Meiji Gakuin University last week, a candlelight chorale at the chapel “was packed out,” says Dr. Mullins. “In Japan, 300 people is a crowd, especially for a Christian event attended by mostly non-Christians. You see this more and more.
An even greater surprise may be the success of Santa Claus in Vietnam. Last year in this Buddhist country, stores recorded a huge spike upward in the sales of artificial Christmas trees, and other holiday paraphernalia, according to the official Vietnam news service.
…Among the educated in majority Hindu India, the outward trappings of Dec. 25 have been discovered, with prominent buildings in Delhi sporting lighted trees – as well as businesses and homes.
The Philippines and South Korea, of course, with histories of US presence and large evangelical subcultures, have a major head start. Parts of downtown Seoul look like a yuletide photo set piece for holiday catalogues. Some Christmas-tree shapes are built atop Buddhist pagodas and stand several stories high. Underneath, recorded carols ring out, including black gospel choirs shouting “Glory! glory!” as shoppers with gift-wrapped parcels pass by.”
In South Korea, they have “Christmas-tree shapes…built atop Buddhist pagodas”, yet in the US if an elementary school sings “Silent Night, Holy Night” a bunch of uptight liberals from the ACLU will throw a fit. Too bad these people don’t have anything better to do with their time than attack Christmas.
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