Taipei - "Of the 25 million inhabitants of Taiwan, only 1% are Catholics, and among Catholics the most important feast of the year is undoubtedly Christmas", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Giuseppe Didone, Camillian missionary in Taiwan.
Even the Taiwanese consumer and non-Christian society has now become associated with the Christmas season, the missionary continues, but without knowing the religious reason: "shops are decorated with Christmas trees, lights, shop assistants dress up as Santa Claus, on Christmas evening they organize large dance parties, Christmas cards, without the figure of Jesus, are sold".
At the beginning of Advent the Catholic communities light the Christmas tree, but this is not done in church, but along the street, with writings and lights: the purpose is that all those who pass see the lights and maybe one can question what the true meaning of Christmas is.
"During Advent we perform 'the Song of the Star', sometimes in government building or in some schools - says Fr. Dido -. Now, some shops or firms call us to sing, to receive the blessing of the Child Jesus. To try to give a religious meaning of Christmas, we have replaced the figure of Santa Claus with an Angel, who distributes sweets and religious images. Even the guests of our center for the disabled are involved in this activity: we go with them to sing even in markets, where we are warmly welcomed".
"Lately - the missionary concludes - we are noticing a certain change in the mentality of the people on Christmas: some shops begin to print Christmas cards with the nativity scene and the Child Jesus". >>