Christmas is coming this year to Bangkok -- the capital of Thailand and a city that's overwhelmingly Buddhist.
Christmas is coming this year to Bangkok -- the capital of Thailand and a city that's overwhelmingly Buddhist. It's one more example of how Western ideas and fashions have imprinted themselves upon the lives of millions of Asians. While many of the older members of the city's population will be ignoring Christmas, younger people will be waking up on December 25 and wondering what presents they've received. Christmas decorations can now be seen in many parts of the city of Temples, and on Wednesday (15 December) shops were filled as people got their seasonal buying underway.
SYNOPSIS: Bangkok -- a city of Temples and the overwhelmingly Buddhist capital of Thailand. But here too, the approach of Christmas is being felt. It's another example of how Western ideas and fashions are imprinting themselves upon the lives of millions of Asians. While the monks will be saying their prayers and receiving their food offerings as normal on Christmas morning, the young followers of the season's festivity will be examining what presents they've received.
It's mainly the younger residents of Bangkok who've become enraptured by the Christmas season. They don't see Christmas as a Christian festival -- instead it's a western tradition. As in Western cities, the shops of Bangkok are being marked by a seasonal buying spree.
As in the West, the shops are festooned with decorations which to many Thais are puzzling as Buddhist New Year decorations would be to Londoners in April.
But it's the young who are beginning to celebrate it because they're more susceptible to Western influences than their older relatives.
Many shopowners admit that their trade is aimed at more than the city's European minority and tourists. They say there's now a growing market among Thais irrespective of their religious beliefs.
The Japanese, who celebrate Christmas in a big way, are partly responsible for bringing it into Thailand through Japanese-owned shops. But whatever the reasons, Christmas is catching on in one of the world's most Buddhist cities.