Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travels: You Know You're not in a Christian-majority country when...

One of the funny things about China in recent years is the arrival of Christmas as a most commercialized and  generally good-cheer consumerist holiday. People living in countries with a Christian tradition know Christmas as a once-a-year holiday on December 25th. The Christmas merchandise goes on sale on the 26th and you shouldn't have your Christmas tree up a couple weeks past New Year. But most people in China know Christmas as a time of general celebrating and shopping so the date isn't so important. In China it's not uncommon to see images of Santa Claus when it's not the holiday season.

I was delighted to find similarly out-of-season Santa Claus in Istanbul! Istiklal street was the main road of the historic European-influenced district. It's across the Golden Horn from the historic Ottoman district. It's now a very crowded and lively pedestrian shopping street. 

Above the street were these lights.

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