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How is Christmas celebrated in China?
When tearing off the November page from your calendar, you will see dozens of changes ‘spring up’ since the first day of December: Colorful lights hung up on trees, grocery stores decorated with hollies and tinsels, even the chocolate you always bought is wrapped in red and green - Christmas is indeed coming to town!!!
Although Christmas is not a traditional festival of China, you can never cool down Chinese's enthusiasm of celebrating it, especially for young people. However, when in Rome, do as Romans do - what will happen when Christmas meets Chinese people? Will there be any interesting stuff going on?
Sit up straight friend! Let’s go and have a look!
If you’ve ever celebrated Christmas in China, you will see a lot of apples wrapped in colorful and sparkling papers, especially on Christmas Eve. Uh~ Why apples? Do Chinese people have a special crave for apples on this day?
This will lead us to the pronunciation of the word - in Chinese apple is pronounced as ‘ping guo’, which sounds like ‘peaceful fruit’, and Christmas Eve is translated as ‘ping an ye’ that indicates a peaceful night. Same pronunciation but different character. And this good will is well used by Chinese people by giving apples to the others on Christmas eve - a symbol of wising you safeness and peace.
Unlike Western countries, where the streets are empty on Christmas Day, the Christmas celebrations in China tend to be more commercial. Shopping, going out for dinner, singing karaoke, going to the movies...streets are crowded and the joyful festive atmosphere is all around.
As it is a celebration, nothing can compare with a shopping carnival. A lot of malls and shopping centers will be decorated with colorful packed gifts in fabulous looking. With a lot of young people gather out together, sales, coupons, events, and Christmas specials will be given a lot! Yup! Another excuse for shopping!
Santa Clause with Saxophone
When we speak of Santa Claus, we always come up with a white-beard grandpa carrying a bag of presents. However, his image in China is a little unique - he is almost always depicted with a saxophone in his hand.
No one knows why, perhaps it is because of the ‘cool Western’ image the saxophone has in China, another explanation is that Chinese people find Santa Claus running around with reindeer unrealistic, or maybe because there’s no people sing Christmas carols on the streets so he is taking care of the musical elements in China. Well, who knows!
Going to Church - for fun!
In China, most Chinese people aren't religious. But what interesting is, during Christmas, you’ll see lots of people going to church and it can be so crowded and sometimes people have to wait outside. How could there be so many Christians all of a sudden?
Well, they aren’t actually, many of them are just there to experience the atmosphere, in some ways, just to have fun. They may know nothing about the religion or try to worship, they just think it’s a trendy thing to do. Besides, the carols are mostly beautiful and holy so it can regarded as a small concert in some ways.
To many of you, Christmas is a the most important festival for family to be together, people work far will come home on this day and spend time with their family. But not here in mainland China, as it is not a public holiday on the calendar, there will be no holiday giving to anyone. Don't be so sad, 6 days later there will be the New Year holiday and soon will be Chinese Spring Festival! Cheer up!
Now you've seen how different Christmas can be in China huh? Do you like the 'Chinese-style' celebration? Would you like to try it this year? With only two days left, get ready for it! We wish you a very Merry Christmas!