Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Yellow Christmas in Hong Kong

When I spent some time in Hong Kong near the end of December, I saw many signs of the Christmas holiday throughout the city.

large Christmas themed band display
East Point City shopping mall in Hang Hau

young women wearing Santa outfits handing out promotional material
Promotion in Tsim Sha Tsui

large angel playing a large French Horn next to a Christmas tree
Cityplaza shopping mall in Taikoo Shing

Like the signs of Christmas I had seen in Fujian province, most were indicative of how the holiday has been embraced by many Chinese in a non-religious fashion.

A few other signs of the holiday in Hong Kong included an unusual theme though. Instead of the usual red and white Christmas colors, they often incorporated yellow, a color commonly used by those seeking fuller democratic rights in Hong Kong and who associate themselves with the Umbrella Movement or Umbrella Revolution. Although some uses of yellow may not have implied a political message, such as in the first photo above, some clearly did.

For example, on a shopping street in Mong Kok I was given a postcard expressing holiday cheer and the desire for "true universal suffrage".

Christmas postcard with message 'We Want True Universal Suffrage #Umbrella Revolution"

Elsewhere, #UmbrellaRevolution stickers with the message "We are everywhere" were handed out.

#UmbrellaRevolution stickers saying 'Merry Christmas' and 'We Are Everywhere'

And on Christmas Eve, some supporters of the Umbrella Movement were able to take advantage of Hong Kong closing several streets in Tsim Sha Tsui for the holiday, and they brought out the yellow.

young women wearing yellowish Santa hats and carrying Umbrella Movement materials

group dressed in Christmas spirit carrying various Umbrella Movement items

two young men wearing Santa outfits standing under a yellow umbrella

So while Hong Kong's streets are no longer shut down by protests and the commercial side of the holidays predominated, Christmas still offered an opportunity for people to openly express that they have not given up the quest for universal suffrage—a special type of Hong Kong holiday spirit.

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