“圣诞快乐 (Shèngdàn kuàilè)! Merry Christmas!” Because it has a predominantly non-Christian population, Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in China as a public holiday. However, Christmas as a secular, commercial holiday has gained popularity in China in recent years. In addition, there are Chinese Christians who celebrate Christmas as the time when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to be born as a man. Here are some of the typical Chinese Christmas traditions and practices that you can find this time of year:
Many shopping malls, restaurants, and stores in major cities are adorned with Christmas decorations, lights, and Christmas trees. These decorations create a festive atmosphere and contribute to the holiday spirit. Some neighborhoods feature impressive Christmas light displays that attract visitors.
While gift-giving is not as large-scale as in Western countries, exchanging gifts has become a common practice, especially among younger generations.
Santa Claus, known as “Shèngdàn Lǎorén” (圣诞老人) in Mandarin, is a well-recognized figure in China. Malls and department stores often feature Santa Claus for photo opportunities with children.
Christmas Eve Celebrations:
On Christmas Eve, known as “Shèngdàn Xiānghuì” (圣诞夜) in Mandarin, many people go out to enjoy a special dinner, visit friends, or attend parties. Couples often exchange gifts and celebrate in a manner somewhat similar to Valentine’s Day.
Christmas Eve Church Services:
In churches and household gatherings across the land, Christians may hold special Christmas Eve services.
Christmas Themed Foods:
Western-style Christmas foods such as roasted turkey, Christmas ham, and fruitcakes are becoming more popular. Chinese bakeries often sell Christmas-themed pastries and cakes.
Chinese New Year Connection:
In some regions of China, there is a connection between Christmas and the upcoming Chinese New Year. People see Christmas as a prelude to the more extensive and culturally significant Chinese New Year celebrations.
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