Singapore boasts the highest number of foreign residents in the world. It’s no surprise that these expats host Christmas parties and do some seasonal decorating. Although Christianity isn't Singapore's primary religion, Christmas is still celebrated widely, albeit in a more secular manner. Malls will be decorated, and vivid lights adorn the length of Orchard Road. Christmas is also observed as a public holiday in neighboring Malaysia.
More than 90 percent of Filipinos claim to be Roman Catholic, making the Philippines one of two predominantly Christian countries in Southeast Asia (East Timor is the other). Christmas is celebrated publicly throughout the country, aside from a handful of places where where Islam is the predominant faith. As for the rest of the country, a strong emphasis on religion can be seen during the Christmas holiday. You’ll even hear Christmas songs being played in October as the country gears up for one of its favorite holidays!
Although less than 2 percent of Japanese claim to be Christian and December 25 is not a public holiday, the Christmas season is still observed with enthusiasm—particularly Christmas Eve. Gift exchanges take place between couples and companies; corporate offices are sometimes decorated for the occasion.
Parties with Christmas themes often lead up to the big Shogatsu New Year celebration. Adding to the excitement, the Emperor's Birthday is celebrated on December 23 in Japan.
Hinduism and Islam are the primary religions in India, with only around 2 percent of the population claiming Christianity as a religion. But that doesn’t stop Goa from putting on a big Christmas celebration every December. Around 25 percent of people in Goa claim to be Christian; the Portuguese influence is apparent everywhere.
Banana trees are decorated, Christians head to midnight mass, and a Western-style meal is often enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Plenty of lively beach parties in Goa celebrate the event. Christmas is also celebrated enthusiastically by Christians in Kerala and other parts of India, where Christmas stars adorn many homes.
Christianity is a major religion in South Korea, and Christmas Day is celebrated as a public holiday. Money is often given as a gift, cards are exchanged, and the bridges over the Han River in Seoul are lit with decorations. Some families, even ones who don't identify with any religion, choose to attend a church service on Christmas. Santa Claus may be seen wearing blue instead of red in South Korea!