Christmas in … Cambodia

The first of a series about how children in other countries celebrate Christmas.

Santa suits, all the rage for kids in Cambodia. (Haidy Ear-Dupuy/WV)

Celebrating Christmas is a new tradition in Cambodia. As the young people learn more about the outside world, they quickly adapt the Christmas traditions among themselves.

In December, the streets of the capital, Phnom Penh, and other provincial cities are adorned with lights. Christmas is a season of giving, and stores and vendors capitalize on that. At the local outdoor markets, perhaps the hottest-selling item is the miniature Santa Claus outfit parents buy for their children.

That’s rapidly becoming the most popular thing to do in Cambodia—dress up the children in Santa Claus clothes. Young boys wear red-felt trousers and shirts and girls wear red-felt dresses with white trimming. They all wear red-and-white hats marked “Merry Christmas.”

World Vision staff and street children celebrate Christmas together. (Haidy Ear-Dupuy/WV)

For Christians, Christmas is a time to gather presents and toys to distribute to homeless children or orphanages. For years now, World Vision has partnered with churches and children’s homes to distribute toys and packages of food at Christmas. Singing and dancing of traditional songs as well as a replay of the nativity scenes are also important for the Christian community.

—Reported by Haidy Ear-Dupuy in Cambodia

Next: Christmas in Romania

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