Christmas in the Marshall Islands is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.
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The people of the Marshall Islands are mostly Christian and celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmastime on 25 December each year like most other Christians around the world. Since the coming of the Gospel to these far-flung South Pacific islands over a hundred years ago, Christmas Day has been a major holiday here.
Christmas is so big in the Marshall Islands that people begin preparations for the celebrations a full month in advance. Some even start two months in advance!
While some common ways of observing Christmas occur in the Marshall Islands as elsewhere, like gift-giving, attending special church services, and greeting others with “Merry Christmas!”, there are many unique traditions as well. Large food baskets, for example, are exchanged. And people watch special Christmas bands, called “jeptas”, sing, dance, and perform short plays all day long.
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