Christmas is a time of year when people around the world come together in the spirit of giving, love and hope for mankind.
This religious and cultural celebration is observed by billions of people annually on December 25.
But while it has its roots in religious traditions and symbols dating back thousands of years, there are many countries that don’t celebrate Christmas. Below are some of these countries.
Travelers head to Morocco for many things– hiking North Africa’s Atlas Mountains, camel treks, shopping, sleeping in a famous riad– but celebrating Christmas isn’t one of them. The Moroccan people are primarily Muslim, so it’s no surprise that Christmas in Morocco is not a big deal. Instead of hearing jingle bells and people singing carols, you’ll instead hear the beautiful sound of the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer). Instead of seeing Christmas lights lining the streets, you’ll see hundreds of brightly colored lanterns.
So you may not be celebrating Christmas in Morocco if you visit.
Almost 75% population of Israel are Jews (the followers of Judaism) and Christmas is not a Jewish festival. They consider Jesus just as the king of Nazareth, but not God. Meanwhile Jews has their own festivals. Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah are one of them. They don’t pray in Church like Christians, they do pray in Synagogue. They are belong to the same root which is the family of Abraham but both are separate religion. Israel is a Jewish majority with a Christian and Muslim minority, therefore, only Jewish holidays are officially recognized.
Mongolia is a country where travelers can witness first-hand countless traditions of the ancient past. But Christmas is not one of them.
Because Mongolia is officially a Buddhist country, December 25 there feels just like any other day. People go to work, children go to school, and no holiday carols play in the shops.
You may find one or two decorations strung up around main cities like Ulaanbaatar, but Christmas here is really a foreign affair.
But people in the Mongolian culture do celebrate the Lunar New Year. There are fireworks, street parties and a televised speech at midnight by the Mongolian President.
The Lunar New Year is also celebrated with a “New Year’s Tree,” which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Christmas tree!
Christmas is not a major holiday in Russia. It is only celebrated on the 6th & 7th of January instead of December 24-25 because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the older Julian calendar which differs from the Gregorian calendar used by Western churches. For most nonreligious people as well as religious minorities, Christmas celebrations go largely unnoticed, while many Christians participate in the Christmas church services and hold religious events dedicated to the holiday.
In Turkey, December 25 is not a national holiday because of the minority population of Christians compared to the majority population of Muslims who dominate Turkey. Turkey is predominantly a Muslim state, therefore, only Islam holidays are nationally-recognized and observed in the country.
You won’t be able to tell it’s Christmas in Qatar, a non-Christian country. Any celebrations which are organized are usually arranged by the growing expat community. The availability of festive decorations in shops has increased over the years (Doha is, after all, a modern city with extravagant malls). But these are still relatively slim pickings. In a country which is known for its heritage souks, Islamic Art and monolithic sand dunes, perhaps it’s not too surprising that there’s a noticeable shortage of Christmas trees here. Real Christmas trees in Qatar are very expensive and very rare. But for travelers craving the smell of a real Xmas tree , head to the Ritz-Carlton or a similar internationally-known 5-star hotel.
These hotels annually serve Christmas Eve buffets, if you’re looking to join a seasonal feast.
December 25 is a regular work day in China, not a regular holiday. It is generally believed that this became the case because the first President General, George Washington, worked on December 25, 1776, crossing the Delaware to win the battle of Trenton.
8. North Korea
The North Korean authorities does not permit any religious holidays in the country, including Christmas. Christmas has been banned in North Korea since 1948 when the Kim dynasty started cracking down on religious freedoms. In a very funny development, Kim Jong-Un banned mandated citizens to pay tribute to his dead grandmother on December 24 instead of December 25 for the celebration of Christ. This is also partly because the authorities consider Christmas as a western culture and they do not tolerate any western practice.
There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate Christmas in the North African nation of Tunisia, for those who want to. Flower sellers will haggle over the price of a tree, vendors sell Christmas decorations and accessories, and you’ll never have any issue finding a unique gift in the huge variety of souks there. Numerous local churches offer mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
But, to the locals, Christmas doesn’t mean anything beyond an economic opportunity for their shops.
Head to Tunisia for an incredible warm climate and beautiful African beaches. But don’t go there expecting to catch the Christmas spirit: The holiday tends to pass without much fuss!