Word of the Day: Christmas | Singapore Informer

by Tan Chu Chze THE meaning of Christmas is familiar enough not to require explanation: it’s Jesus’ birthday party. Literally. ‘Christmas’ is a shortening of “Christ’s mass”. By “mass”, you can guess this celebration is religious and held at a church. And no, Christmas isn’t Jesus’ actual birth date, as far as we can tell. Just that December 25 happens to be a symbolic day to celebrate it. Yet despite Christmas having strong connections to Christianity, its practice is decreasingly so. Hold your reindeers, let me explain. You only have to notice how Christmas is celebrated here in Singapore. First, remember that there are four major festivities observed: Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, and Christmas. Each of these events correspond bluntly to the four racial-religious groupings – Chinese, Malays, Indians and Others. As a way of establishing these connections, a site representing each heritage is elaborately decorated during their festivity. Chinatown is decorated on the Lunar New Year; Geylang Serai has a makeover during Hari Raya; Little India during Diwali. And which cultural site is the mainstay of Christmas? Orchard Road. That’s not all. Even the Christmas symbols and practices are adopted differently. Instead of fairy lights and stockings to dress the home, our malls are lighted up. So much so that they compete for ‘best dressed’ mall. Christmas trees are an obsession. They are opulent, larger than life, and everywhere. Suitable for taking selfies against . We even have Santa Claus. Instead of Dads dressing up, it’s the delivery man, bearing online…

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