December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day is a huge and important festival in most parts of the world where Christianity and Catholicism is practiced. But what about in countries like mainland China where religion is banned and frowned upon by the government, where Christianity or Catholicism is practiced (in low profile) by only a tiny portion – around 1% – of the population of around 1.41 billion people (in 2017)? You may be surprised.
In fact, Christmas is a big deal in some urban parts of mainland China, especially among the younger generation. Although it is more commercialised, given that there is no long-standing, formal Christmas traditions in mainland China, we still see decorations put up in homes and presents being exchanged.
The young generation see Christmas as a chance for a gathering with friends and an excuse to do a lot of Christmas shopping – not only for others but for themselves. Shops, including online retailers, see this as a chance to promote and encourage spending, with huge discounts. So Christmas in mainland China is more of a commercialised affair than a religious one.
As the government frowns upon religion, Christmas Day is a normal working day for most people. However, this does not stop the population from celebrating it. Father Christmas is becoming more and more popular, with Santa’s Grotto seen in some shopping malls. Instead of elves though, in China, they have sisters instead – young women dressed in colourful and sexy clothes helping give out gifts.
On Christmas Eve, the Chinese give out and eat apples, as the Chinese word for “Christmas Eve” and “apples” sound alike. As for Christmas food, there is no set food people eat in mainland China. Some see it as a chance for a gathering with friends, which can mean just a casual meal at McDonalds! However, many international hotels do serve a more traditional Christmas dinner, like you get in western countries.
Are you curious as to what Christmas is like in China? Have a chat with other members on AsiaMe.com and find out more!
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