Although Christmas isn’t an official holiday in China, Chinese people perceive it as a day of entertainment and celebrate it with vigor.
This often occurs in major cities where people are influenced by the western culture.
As such, they celebrate this day with all the trappings of western Christmas but with a few differences here and there.
Here’s an overview of the Christmas cheer in China.
As Christmas approaches, the Chinese decorate their homes with twinkling lights and large Christmas trees locally known as the trees of light.
These decorations may also be found in malls, banks, school institutions, and tourist attraction areas like parks.
The Chinese people will also decorate their houses with posters, multi-colored LED lights, and bright paper chains.
Their Christmas trees are also adorned with beautiful lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains.
Some people also decorate their homes with manufactured trees that are seemingly covered in snow.
Major malls and department stores also install props of Santa Claus, also known as Shen Dan Lao Ren, translating to the old Christmas man.
This version of Santa Claus is often seen playing the saxophone. Every country has own customs and they wish Happy/Merry Christmas in their languages.
Some postmen also dress up as Santa when delivering letters during the festive season.
Christmas Eve Traditions
Gifting apples is a major tradition in China. The people deeply believe that eating apples on Christmas Eve will promote peace in their lives.
They will, therefore, award their friends and families with apples wrapped up in the decorated paper.
This belief is based on the fact that the word apple and peace in mandarin are phonetically similar.
The Chinese people also exchange gift cards on Christmas Eve, but people don’t have to wait for Christmas to open them like it is with western countries.
Kids also hang muslin stocking and hope that Shen Dan Lao Ren will leave them some gifts.
During Christmas, the churches hold services that are open for public attendance.
Some Chinese solemnly believe in attending the mass, but they are also followed by many non-believers who go to church for the fun of it.
People also attend western borrowed events including the special Christmas movie night and ugly Christmas sweater party.
Some people also tour Yiwu, which is referred to as the Christmas village due to the large amounts of holiday-related merchandise produced in this place.
The Chinese people also enjoy a variety of shows staged in Macau and Hong Kong during the Christmas season.
Traditional Christmas Cuisines
Christmas in China also revolves around family meals.
However, instead of the traditional turkey consumed in western countries, the Chinese enjoy local traditional delicacies related to New Year.
These meals include bā bǎo yā; an entire duck stuffed with diced chicken, as well as Chinese rice and spices.
Some people also enjoy barbecued pork, cold ham, and jiaozi, as well as chicken and soup with wood ear fungus.
Some western meals also include roast beef, turkey and cranberry sauce, which are mostly found in both local and western restaurants.
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Main Points About Christmas in China
- Christmas is not a popular holiday in China because many Chinese do not celebrate Christmas at all.
- In China, on Christmas eve, people give out apples wrapped in colored paper.
- People who celebrate Christmas do it as a happy occasion. They get together with friends and relatives to hold Christmas parties at the house, bar, or restaurant.
- Young couples see the Chinese Christmas as a romantic time similar to Valentine’s day. They go on dates and exchange gifts.
- Although China, makes most of the world’s plastic Christmas trees and decorations, Christmas trees and decorations are not very popular, only in commercial areas like malls, and big hotels.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Christmas in China
- How do they celebrate Christmas in China?
Christmas is not considered to be a public holiday in Mainland China. However, the people do not refrain from decorating on Christmas eve. The people living in China decorate the streets and trees using glitters and lights.
- What is Christmas called in China?
Christmas Traditions in China. The small number of Christians in China call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. They decorate their homes with evergreens, posters, and bright paper chains. Santa is known as sheng dan lao ren, which translates literally to Old Christmas Man.
- Do Chinese eat KFC for Christmas?
KFC comes up with special Christmas offers for the people living in China. It comes up with special discounts and coupons with the help of which the Chinese people can go to the outlet and enjoy the meals. Thus eating in KFC has become a tradition during the time of Christmas in China.
- Is Christmas a holiday in China?
Like the other countries all around, Christmas is not considered to be a public holiday in Mainland China country. The workplace is open either for the full day or partially. Apart from that people come up with other businesses like decoration and lights at the time of Christmas Eve.
- What do Chinese eat at Christmas?
Chinese cuisine at the time of Christmas Eve is a little different. The food items include roast barbecued pork, chicken, dumplings (jiaozi), and soup with cloud or wood ear fungus. Apart from these people also love to eat Turkey during Christmas eve.
- When did China start celebrating Christmas?
Christmas eve is a tradition which is celebrated worldwide. In the initial times, it was celebrated only by the Christian community. But now it is celebrated by people from all religions.
Christmas Eve is a festival that is being celebrated all around the world from many centuries. Talking about country China, China celebrated its first Christmas Eve on 22nd December 1949. On this day the first reference about Christmas was made by the Chinese Communist Party.
Christmas has over time gained massive popularity in China, and the number of people who celebrate this holiday is increasing by the day.
During this season, the Chinese decorate their homes, business complexes and supermarkets with western-based decorations.
The Chinese also attend the mass, exchange gifts, and enjoy Christmas meals with their families and friends.
Word Cloud for Christmas in China
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in China. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.