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Christmas traditions vary from country to country. Christmas Day is a public holiday in Eritrea that is celebrated on January 7 or on 27 Tahsas of the Ethiopian calendar. 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. On Christmas Eve, traditional meals are prepared according to the traditions of each region. Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities. Gift giving in Nigeria often involves money and the flow of gifts from the more fortunate to the less fortunate. 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. Religion in Nigeria is about equally divided between Christians and Muslims. There are occasional outbreaks of religious conflict. The Islamic sect Boko Haram has attacked Christian churches with bombings on Christmas 2011.
Christmas in South Africa is a public holiday celebrated on December 25. Many European traditions are maintained despite the distance from Europe. Christmas trees are set up in homes and the children are given presents in their stockings. The gift bearer is Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The Christmas meal is mince pies, turkey, gammon, beef tongue, turducken, corned beef, green salad,roast beef or a barbecue outdoors.
The meal is finished with Christmas Pudding, Ice cream or trifle. Christmas crackers are used to make noise. Despite Christmas occurring at the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer, wintry motifs common to the Northern Hemisphere are popular. 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. In Hong Kong, where Christmas is a public holiday, many buildings facing Victoria Harbour will be decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas trees are found in major malls and other public buildings, and in some homes as well, despite the small living area. Christmas is a public holiday in Macau. Its traditions are mostly influenced by the Portuguese since the territory was a colony of Portugal until December 20, 1999. Casinos in Macau remain open on Christmas Day.
Christmas masses in Macau’s Catholic churches are held in either Chinese or Portuguese. Encouraged by commerce, the secular celebration of Christmas is popular in Japan, though Christmas is not a national holiday. 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.