What do you do on Christmas Day?

What do you do on Christmas Day?

Trang Lim, 24, third-year student at Cambodian Mekong University
“Christmas day is not really an important day for me. I just have a small gathering in the evening or head out somewhere for dinner. At school we swap gifts, but now that we’re in university, it’s nothing that special. I remember my friends and I used to go to Bakang resort a lot, where we’d talk over a good meal. Back in the beginning of high school, my classmates and I used to put a lot of effort into the sorts of gifts and cards we’d exchange. I guess now that we’re in university, studying is more important.”

Lim Chanthou, 21, second-year student at Institute of Foreign Language
“I never celebrate Christmas, because it’s just another normal day. The meaning isn’t relevant to Cambodia’s history or culture. If we start celebrating Christmas here like a national holiday, we risk losing our cultural identity. I see other people do some special things during this time, and that’s fine. If any of my friends ask me to go out with them, of course I’ll still go. But, I still just think of it as a normal day.”

Ly Chhorka,​​ 23, fourth-year student at Pannasastra University of Cambodia
“Actually, I stopped celebrating Christmas back in the beginning of high school. For me, the day is routine just like any other. I’ll watch TV, surf the internet, listen to music, or anything usual like that. I never thought much about religion when it came to Christmas. A lot of teens just follow their peers. So, when I went to university, I started thinking that people shouldn’t celebrate Christmas here because we’re Buddhist. I changed my perspective as I grew, though. Buddha teaches us to accept other religions. So, if Christmas brings you happiness – whether it’s meeting friends or family – celebrate it.

Phauk Pauv Sok Hen, 19, second-year student at University of Cambodia
“On Christmas day, I always have a gathering with my friends. We talk about our memories together and reflect on the past. We also usually go shopping and to lunch, or we’ll go to the cinema. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to exchange cards. For me, Christmas is not too important. It’s not a Cambodian national holiday, so all the things we do on Christmas is just for fun.”

Kong Sovandeth, 19, first-year student at Royal University of Law and Economics
“On Christmas, I meet up with my friends. We chat, exchange small gifts, like candy, eat a great meal and share our experiences on the past year. I think it’s a great time to look back on the year with the people you’re closest to. I like to meet up with my friends for a Christmas get-together after class, so it doesn’t get in the way of studying. Also, I don’t think Christmas affects our culture as long as we practise it with good taste.”

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