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Myeongdong Cathedral in S. Korea holds 3-day Christmas festival online Updated: 2020-12-24 17:07:58 KST

Now, Myeongdong in downtown Seoul is one of South Korea's prime shopping districts - you’ll find shopping malls, street shops, trendy restaurants and cafes - it's usually THE place to be on Christmas Eve in the nation's capital.
That's not quite the case this year.
Our Han Seong-woo is outside the Myeongdong Cathedral, symbolic of Christmas in South Korea.
Seong-woo, things look much subdued for Christmas Eve.

There's still a few hours left but Merry Christmas Conn-young
Myeongdong is usually packed on Christmas Eve, with people visiting the 122 year-old Myeongdong Cathedral behind me.
But this year, there are few tourists or shoppers to be seen.
And since evening mass will be conducted online, not too many worshippers are here either.

"I had always thought the end of the year to be a time of people gathering and spending time together but since that isn't the case this year, this winter feels a bit chillier than usual."

What can be seen though is a special nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus.
The manger is empty now but just before midnight, Myeongdong Cathedral will carry out the ritual of placing Baby Jesus inside his crib.
In the background, you can also see a drawing of a COVID-19 patient and a doctor, hands clenched in hope, wearing protective clothing.

A very meaningful scene indeed
I'm used to seeing Christmas markets and artistic performances at Myeongdong this time of the year though.
I know they're impossible with COVID-19 but are there any other events being held?

There's actually a lot planned for the days ahead
This year, the Archdiocese of Seoul has decided to go online with its festivities.
Its virtual Christmas festival, "Myeongdong Lights Up the Winter 2020", just began an hour ago
and is being streamed live on Youtube from the Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation.
The festival will feature carol performances, talk shows, religious auctions and celebrity appearances.
Earlier in the month, a Christian band also sang carols like "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland" inside the cathedral to lift Koreans' spirits as part of an online Christmas concert.
That's all I have for this newscast but before I leave Myeongdong happy holidays to all our viewers watching at home.
Back to you, Conn-young.
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