Gauss-Advent Calendar: 圣诞快乐! – Christmas in China
by Fangzheng Sun
Although Christmas originates from Christianity and China is not a Christian embossed country, people in China also celebrate Christmas and have their own customs. So how do we celebrate Christmas? I would like to share my personal experiences with you.
Since Christmas is not a traditional Chinese festival, there is no public holiday in China. However, from the end of November, you can feel the Christmas spirit in every corner of the city. Larger squares are decorated with Christmas trees and lanterns, shopping malls start promoting Christmas sales and children begin to think about what gifts they might want for Christmas this year.
Since most Chinese do not believe in Christianity, Christmas is more like Valentine’s Day for us. Christmas in China is usually celebrated by young people, but not by older people. On Christmas, young men and women often go out on a date or go to bars with friends.
We buy apples before Christmas Eve, and give them to relatives and friends to pray for peace. This tradition comes from the fact that the Chinese word for “apple” sounds like the word for “peace”. Besides this connection, the Chinese word for “Christmas Eve” – “Ping’an Ye” (平安夜) – also means “quiet” or “peaceful” evening. In December, my family always has an endless supply of apples, and almost every day I can eat all kinds of apples for breakfast. This is because many companies sell apples in other shapes like cubes or hearts.
I loved Christmas very much when I was very young and of course I was listening to my parents telling stories about Santa Claus. Every Christmas morning I would get up early and look for presents from Santa at home. Although I later knew that all the presents were from my parents, I still felt very happy. When I came to Germany, I found that Christmas was really different here. Especially when it snows, it was nice to visit the Christmas market. Because in my city it rarely snows.
Nowadays, Christmas is a very important festival for Chinese people. Relatives and friends get together during this time, couples travel together and business people use this opportunity to promote their sales. If you want to travel to China, Christmas is also a good time. Go and experience the other Christmas!
Have you ever celebrated Christmas in an Asian country? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below our post on Facebook or Instagram!