Christmas is a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born just over two thousand years ago and Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth because of his centrality to Christian faith and history.
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Christmas is the only Christian holiday that celebrates someone’s birth. Christians in Malaysia celebrate Christmas by way of meals with family and friends on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, along with gift-giving, music, singing, church events and prayer.
More broadly, Malaysian society celebrates Christmas with colourful displays in shopping malls for one or two months before Christmas Day and with a public holiday on the 25th December.
The most common colours connected to Christmas are green, red, gold, silver and white, and the most common images associated with Christmas are the Christmas tree, gift boxes and Santa Claus. For society at large, there is little significance to these elements and they are generally used mostly in shopping malls to market products during the Christmas season.
Food plays an important part to the Christmas celebration and, most commonly, Christmas is celebrated in homes with an abundance of food shared amongst family and friends. The meal celebrates God’s provision and love, and is a time of generosity and friendship. Gift giving can take place in a number of ways but it is most common to have every family member preparing surprise gifts for the others and passing them to them in wrapping paper. There is no set rule on what gifts should be given.
Christmas songs are sung in church services in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, churches across Malaysia sing a selection of carols, hymns and songs related to Christmas. In some places, special Christmas carol events are held for the community during December with songs being sung by choirs in shopping malls and public areas. For a list of popular Christmas carols, please click here.
Christmas is celebrated around the world on the same date every year, December 25th. Because Christmas is only a few days before New Year, the period is often a time when people will take advantage of the public holidays and travel.