Christmas

Category: Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events

Christmas, which falls on 25th December every year, is a festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. In Singapore, it is celebrated both in a secular and religious manner. The streets of Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping district, are decorated with Christmas lights, and many shopping malls also put up decorations.

Christmas Wreath on a DoorA Christmas wreath decorating the door of a Eurasian household. Intangible Cultural Heritage Survey Project, National Heritage Board.

Christmas gatherings are common both at home and work, and provide a chance for gifts bought during Christmas shopping to be exchanged. Christians in general celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas by attending church services. The Eurasian community in Singapore, a majority of whom are Christian, celebrate Christmas in a unique way.

Eurasian families typically start preparing for Christmas one to two months in advance by decorating the Christmas tree, spring cleaning and cooking. They enjoy an early family dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by opening presents and attending midnight mass, and throwing an “open house” on Christmas Day, where relatives, friends and neighbours are invited over for a day of feasting and celebration.

The food enjoyed by the Eurasian community during Christmas celebrations include various traditional dishes such as curry feng (parboiled and diced pork offal stewed in a rich blend of spices), curry debal (a dish made out of Christmas Day leftovers like turkey, ham and sausages, cooked into a spicy curry) and mulligatawny (a peppery soup served with boiled rice or French loaf).

For the Eurasian community, Christmas is thus a time for religious celebration and family get-togethers.


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