Malacca Travel Blog› entry 76 of 93 › view all entries
Living in Muslim Malaysia, I am always surprised at the way all the cities and towns decorate for Christmas. In KL the malls go all out, competing with each other for the nicest-looking decorations, tallest Christmas trees in the atriums, and so on. But in Malacca, they go a different direction altogether. Sure, there are some Christmas decorations, but the real focus of Christmas celebrations centers on the city's Portuguese Square (Medan Portugis). During the day, the Square is uneventful and does not resemble Portugal in the least bit. At night, the area turns into a large outdoor food court. Historically, the Portuguese Malaccans lived in this area. And although the faces are quite Asian today, the inhabitants are proud to tell you that they are mixed Portuguese. That doesn't matter throughout most of the year until Christmas Eve, when this Square erupts with Christmas joy in the form of thousands of aerosol fake snow cans. Thousands of revelers, Christians and non-Christians (mostly), gather here for the midnight countdown. There are Christmas light house decoration contests in the neighborhood surrounding the Square and traffic comes to a standstill in the narrow lanes around the area. If you didn't know any better, you would think that this was Armageddon as everyone was so wild. I can't say that this was fun, but it certainly was memorable and energetic, something that most visitors to otherwise stoic and historic Malacca don't get to experience.