Strange customs: Christmas 2022 in Xinyi
Culturally, Christmas is not an important holiday in Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan are Buddhists, Taoists, or follow local folk religions (more or less eagerly). Christians make only roughly 6% of the population, and churches are not very visible in Taipei’s architecture nor it’s culture.
And yet, as a (mostly commercial) festival, Christmas is very visible, especially in the shopping districts of Xinyi. Around the malls and pavilions, Christmas blends with New Year’s Eve and Lunar New Year to a mega-holiday, often spanning the whole of December and January.
After growing up with more traditional Christmas markets, it took me a while to get used to the mix of fake fir trees, smiling rabbits (in 2022) announcing the next lunar year, and balloon characters – all together with sometimes springlike 20°C. Yet, people are genuinely enjoying it, and I can now appreciate the creativity that goes into small performances, pop up shops, and marketing grandiloquence.