Christmas in Cambodia
Christmas isn’t exactly a traditional holiday in Cambodia.
95 % of the people here are Buddhists. Only a very small minority are Christians.
But just like the people in many other Asian countries, Cambodians love Christmas lights and decorations, giving gifts and throwing Christmas parties.
Especially young Cambodians seem to enjoy the magic of Christmas (and in Cambodia, almost everyone is young – the median age is 21).
For this new generation, Christmas embodies Western culture and lifestyle.
So in keeping with the holiday spirit, my hotel in Phnom Penh started putting up Christmas decorations at the beginning of this month.
On the first day of their decorating spree, the hotel decorators just installed a Christmas tree in the lobby that lit up at night.
On the second day, they added some wreaths, some stars and more lights.
By the third day, the decorating team had turned the whole lobby into a winter wonderland of lights. I think they must have all taken classes at the Liberace School for Refined Home Decorating.
This week, the hotel team also draped tinsel garlands and red ribbons around the abstract stone sculptures in the lobby – which to my mind only improved the artwork.
And since last night, there’s also a sign in the lobby wishing us all a Happy Hanukah.
I wonder if tonight or tomorrow, we’ll also see a poster wishing Happy Kwanzaa.
I’m sure the handful of Africans and people of African descent in Phnom Penh would appreciate the hotel’s thoughtfulness…