Christmastide in Taiwan

Candles in the window and Christmas Carols sung outside by the neighbours. I don’t even know if folks still do that.

Christmastide is a part of the Liturgical Year. The liturgical calendar begins the year on Advent which is traditionally the penitential season for the Christian to prepare for the birth of the Lord on the Feast of the Nativity. Advent is / was a mini-Lent, a period for austerity and preparation which begins in late November or early December. Altars were unadorned, the Gloria was excluded, and penance was to be made by the Christian as he awaits the coming of the Lord.

Then begins glorious Christmastide on Christmas Eve and runs for 12 days or so (this has changed over time). For some it is Christmastide until January 6th, Epiphany, the Feast in celebration of the wise men visiting the Holy Child. More traditionally it was Christmastide until Candlemas on February 2nd.
Whereas Advent was for austerity, Christmastide was one big party - only on Chrisrmas Eve did the decorations and trees go up, and perhaps meat would have been forgone for the month of Advent, so wine and meat were to flow for the weeks of Christmastide. Indeed Christmastide even encompassed the Feast of St. John on December 27th in which the Christian had his wine blessed - so let the good times roll.
Christmastide begins with the glorious proclomation by the priest of Gloria in Excelsis Deo, the first time such is heard in the Liturgical Year on the Vigil of the Nativity. The Christian is truly moved upon hearing that beautiful proclomation late at night on December 24th, as he has acutely noted its absence during the weeks of Advent.

Other parts of the Liturgical Year include Lent which is a period of severe austerity for approximately 40 days before Eastertide. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday in which the priest adorns the Christian with ashes, reminding him from dust he came and to dust he shall return. It helps one focus the mind on what is important in life, which is not worldly matters.

Eastertide itself runs approximately 40 days until Whitsunday (Pentecost) which celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. All of Eastertide was a much bigger celebration than Christmastide, especially as Lent was / is far more severe penance (for example, no meat, dairy, eggs). Pentecost itself is / was the second most important feast of the liturgical year, exceeded only by Easter. Christmas itself was only of third or even fourth in importance and pomp, with it at times being exceeded by Epiphany (celebrating that the Lord has come to the people of the whole world).

In modern times sadly most all anyone cares about is Christmas and mostly for worldly reasons. That shall change with time though as we see people again discovering that the material is not the most important aspect of life. The modern Christian has reversed things - partying during the season of penitential Advent and tearing down the decorations after an orgy of materialism on Christmas. False prosperity gospel and melding into worldly ways, its little surprise most see little meaning in the way modern Christians present what it means to be Christian. But over time tradition will find its way back.

The liturgical year with its cycles of seasons and countless feasts bring a sense of meaning to society as well as change, progress. Feasts of importance that were celebrated communally. Seasons of penance followed by seasons of pomp. Today that is nearly all lost as every day blends meaninglesssly into the next, and secular holy days (holi-days) have no real meaning (labor day, earth day). It used to be like living in the north with its four distinct seasons, but now we all live in soulless Singapore where its sunny and 32 degrees every day of the year.

There are European Christmas market in Taipei /first weekend of December/ and German Christmas Market /I think second weekend of December/. There is a nice Christmas vibe with Christmas carols /European Christmas market /. I visited both of them last year and liked them a lot.


If you notice information for similar events this year, please post it here :slight_smile:

Yup, “German” Christmas market at Yuanshan Expo Park from Dec 10th -12th


I know you’re joking, but Xmas as a Christian abbreviation for Christmas goes back at least 500 years, and X (Greek letter chi) for ‘Christ’ (first letter of his name) goes back even further:

Early use of “Xmas” includes Bernard Ward’s History of St. Edmund’s college, Old Hall (originally published circa 1755).[9] An earlier version, “X’temmas”, dates to 1551.[9] Around 1100 the term was written as “Xp̄es mæsse” in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle .[1] “Xmas” is found in a letter from George Woodward in 1753.[10] Lord Byron used the term in 1811,[11] as did Samuel Coleridge (1801)[5] and Lewis Carroll (1864).[11] In the United States, the fifth American edition of William Perry’s Royal Standard English Dictionary , published in Boston in 1800, included in its list of “Explanations of Common Abbreviations, or Contraction of Words” the entry: “Xmas. Christmas.”
The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “Xρ” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1021. This ‘X’ and ‘P’ arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) used in ancient abbreviations for ‘Χριστος’ (Greek for “Christ”).[1] The Chi-Rho, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as ‘☧’ (Unicode character U+2627 ☧ CHI RHO) is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.[24]

Only people totally ignorant of Christianity, like Franklin Graham- guess he didn’t listen to Daddy- make that mistake

“for us as Christians, this is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas. They’re happy to say merry Xmas.[21] Let’s just take Jesus out. And really, I think, a war against the name of Jesus Christ.”[22]

Never heard anybody say “Merry ex-mas”
As someone who has celebrated the winter festival as an atheist for 55 years now, I wish to all a Merry Christmas- we don’t need to save space by writing Xmas; this isn’t an ad celebrating Jesus’s birth by peddling cheap Chinese plastic junk


Hear hear. I was joking thinkingbof either simpsons or southpark making fun of it.

Though i have heard merry xmas quite a lot. Seen it written on cards a lot as well. Cheers for the history. I had no idea where xmas came from. Seems more ideal the tmas.

Info about European Christmas Market 2021 in Taipei.


I will be the Santa Claus, come say hi.


I hope they’ve found vendors and such. That website makes it look like they don’t have anything ready at all, and it’s in two weekends…

It was similar story last year. When I went there, the place was full of people, vendors, stage performers. Fingers crossed this year it will be more popular.

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Nice! Your family gets both euro and Asian holidays.

Kind of…Yes.

I can’t seem to find any. The churches here are all pathetic, no choirs, no bands, no musicals.


Until Coca Cola invented Santa Claus! :money_mouth_face:

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The Holy Family Catholic Church in Taipei does a decent Midnight Mass. Not sure if it’s on this year.

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The new wave Korean type evangelical type churches do big musical performances, .good for kids. There’s a huge one in Xiao Bitan in Xindian.

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Ah I miss singing in a choir. When I was in highschool, we would rehearse fiercely and prepare a nice repertoire of Christmas carols. We would sing for old people in community homes, churches, street fairs. Heck, even competitions. It was the highlight of my year.

I do not see a lot of that here.


My wife’s family is Catholic; every Christmas Eve the church choir goes around singing to all the church members who for whatever reason- illness, injury, old age- are shut-ins.


I used to sing in our Sunday School choir before I became an atheist at the age of 12. When I was 15, a Salvation Army brass band was playing Christmas carols outdoors, and passersby had gathered to watch. They started playing “O Tannenbaun/O Christmas Tree”, and I slipped out in front and began singing. Everyone was smiling at this rosy-cheeked young lad- until the bandmaster suddenly realised I was singing the words to “The Red Flag” ( same tune). To his credit as an old Yorkshireman, he was laughing as he shooed me away.

The People’s Flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.