The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah declared on Tuesday that citizens celebrating Christmas could face five years in jail unless they are Christian and have expressly taken permission from the government. According to The Times of India, the country’s leaders believe that Christmas being celebrated "excessively and openly" could lead its largely Muslim population astray. Some local Islamic leaders have backed the ban, saying celebrating the Christian festival is akin to supporting another faith, which some interpretations of Islam prohibit. The Sultan had enforced the ban last year as well. Breaking the law could also carry a fine of $20,000 (approximately Rs 13.5 lakh) in addition to the jail term.

Tajikistan, too, made several kinds of Christmas celebrations illegal, including the use of fireworks, festive meals, gift-giving and raising money, as well as putting up trees in schools and colleges. However, the government has agreed to a tree in a square in its capital Dushanbe on New Year’s Eve, which will be removed soon after, Sky News reported.

The former Soviet republic also has a largely Muslim population, but is secular and generally averse to several festivals and celebrations, not just non-Islamic ones. It continues to be influenced by both non-religious tenets brought in by the Soviets, and Orthodox Christian ideals. The country also frowns upon lavish events on birthdays, weddings and funerals.