Christmas in Indonesia

You Foster Generosity When You Give a Christmas Gift

One might think that celebrating Christmas in Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation – can be a problem. Even though 90 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are followers of Islam, it does not mean that Christmas is not celebrated.

The biggest signs of Christmas (i.e. the traditions of the Western festive season), can be seen in the malls. Most of the major stores in the larger cities like Bandung have huge Christmas trees, and restaurants tend to put on some manner of Christmas fares.

For example, the big stores have had their Christmas decorations up for weeks in anticipation of cashing in on the season. Naturally, hotels and malls cater to visitors by erecting Christmas trees ornately decorated, and “Merry Christmas” signs. Shopping hours are extended, and the seasonal specials jump out of nowhere.

There is a Christmas tree in every mall, and a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit and a white beard can be seen giving out presents to the children. It is the same in the other cities like Jakarta, where all the major department stores join in on the festive season.

One of Compassion’s partner churches in Bandung is Immanuel Baptist Church. Christmas decorations have been in place since the first week of December. A plastic Christmas tree stands by the front entrance door to welcome all the visitors; its snow-like glitter and many small butterflies on the leaves delight the small children.

Yes, the church entrance had been decorated with an artificial Christmas trees replete with pristine snow-like glittery ornaments and small butterflies – standing unaffected by the boiling tropical heat.

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