Christmas busy in Asia

Posted On December 26, 2006

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Christians in the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, defied terrorist warnings and flocked to heavily guarded churches yesterday.

Shoppers, meanwhile, packed malls awash with tinsel, plastic pine trees and special promotions in mostly Buddhist Japan and predominantly Hindu India, reflecting the growing commercialization of the season worldwide.

But for the most part Christians, who represent a minority in most Asian countries, celebrated the birth of Jesus with religious services and family feasts.

In the Philippines, where those practising the faith are in the majority, a flurry of mobile phone text greetings swamped networks as midnight approached, and continued into the morning.

Those wishing to celebrate in Sri Lanka, where the resurgence of a civil war has resulted in spiralling inflation, complained that with the price of eggs and butter six times higher than usual there would be no cake this year.