June 15, 2021

between rebates and religious celebrations

between rebates and religious celebrations

Although Christmas is a working day in Taiwan, it is a key date for the almost 5 percent of Christians on the island, while the rest take advantage of year-end discounts to buy gifts or attend light and sound shows mounted for the occasion.

In the churches, the faithful leave cards with wishes and live nativity scenes are organized, while in the dozens of schools and the three Catholic universities of the island Christmas is festive and the Christmas motifs abound.

"Novenas are celebrated before Christmas and Misa del Gallo, on Christmas Eve, which is followed by a meal and the singing of carols in Chinese", tells Chilean priest Efe Michelangelo González, who works at the University of Fujen. and with the Hispanic community.

"In general, for the island," González adds, "Christmas consists of some symbols, such as Santa's hats and little lights."

However, in areas where there is a large concentration of Christians, as in aboriginal villages, Christmas is present in the streets in a similar way to the Hispanic countries, as in the southern town of Wanchin.

"Here 70 percent of the 1,800 inhabitants are Christians," assures Efe a spokesman for the Immaculate Conception Basilica in Wanchin, the oldest church in Taiwan, where there is a plaque that dates back to the Qing Dynasty of China ( 1636-1912), and Spanish Dominicans work.

But Christmas, in its version of a light and sound show, has found its center in Asia, with the gigantic "Christmasland" (something like "Christmasland", in English), in New Taipei, where you can see the "Santa Claus Galaxy" or "Fantasy", in addition to other spectacular facilities in a park and around a metro station.

Numerous islanders and tourists are astonished at the impact of a three-dimensional projection on a circular screen and surround sound, and also upon seeing an installation entitled "La Piscina", by the New York artist Jen Lewin, together with a giant sphere with LED lights that develop a fantasy of color.

"It is a psychedelic and sensory experience in three dimensions, which does not detract from that of other countries, including the United States," says Helen Chang, a businesswoman who has visited the facilities with her two young children.

The department stores, hotels, schools and universities hang decorations "Made in China" or "Made in Taiwan", and gigantic Christmas trees are installed, in a competition to attract visitors or customers.

"Christmas is a sale in shopping centers and an opportunity to buy gifts," says businesswoman Lin Hing-chun at the Sogo department store in Tianmu, Taipei.

For others, like the university Victoria Chen, "Christmas is a party to exchange gifts or dinners with my friends."

The island restaurants are boating at this time, but for students like Chen the date is not very favorable, because it is very close to the final exams of the first semester.

Alice Liou, a young office worker, found her better half at a Christmas dance in one of the Taiwanese universities, so for her, Christmas "is a very romantic and fun party".

And there is also for whom Christmas is just any day: "I will not do anything special," says Natalia Yang, a student of Spanish in the capital of the island, "because I have too much work and, in addition, Christmas Day is a day of classes "

Taiwan also has Christmas markets, with foreign products and this year you can find Spanish nougat in some supermarkets, but most of the island sees Christmas as a show, dinners and parties, with lights, decorations and hats of Santa Claus, and where Sometimes he finds love.

Francisco Luis Pérez


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