Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world. Both Hong Kong and Macau designate Christmas as a public holiday on December 25. Both are former colonies of Western powers with (nominal) Christian cultural heritage. But in China, December 25 is not a legal holiday. The one percent of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas. But with the world becoming a global village, Christmas has now become a festive occasion for an increasing number of Chinese as well. It is worth noting how commercial Christmas decorations, signs, and other symbolic items have become increasingly prevalent during the month of December in large urban centers of mainland China, reflecting a cultural interest in this Western phenomenon, and, sometimes, as part of retail marketing schemes. Arrival of winter marks the celebration of Christmas in China. People decorate their homes with dazzling Christmas lights, beautiful Christmas tree and mouth watering Christmas recipes.
In Chinese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Sheng Dan Kuai Le or 圣诞快乐’ in Mandarin and ‘Seng Dan Fai Lok or 聖誕快樂’ in Cantonese.
In China, Santa is known as ‘Sheng dan lao ren’ (Traditional: 聖誕老人, Simplified: 圣诞老人; means Old Christmas Man). Christmas trees are called “trees of light” and are also decorated with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Children hang up muslin stockings in hopes that Dun Che Lao Ren (China’s Santa) will visit and fill them with presents. Stores have men dressed as Santa Claus handing out candy and waitresses with Santa hats. The booming commercialism which has spread outward from Beijing has been called a Chinese phenomenon. It started out as a friendly gesture or business ploy aimed at Christian visitors.
Giving gifts is an integral part of the Christmas celebrations, and it is no exception in China. People exchange beautiful Christmas gifts with each other. These Christmas gift are the ideal way to express your love and care to the loved ones. Christmas celebrations signify spreading and happiness to the loved ones. In China, people begin their Christmas celebrations with beautiful Christmas decorations. Christmas
decorations usually incorporate lighting houses, using beautiful paper lanterns, paper flowers and lanterns. Another major highlight of Christmas celebrations are the local festivals in China. People participate in this festival. According to Chinese tradition, people go to Church. In China, the most important winter festival is Spring Festival. During this festival, children are gifted new clothes, mouth-watering meal, small toys and firecracker. Worshipping ancestors is the major part of this festival.
Although Christianity is unofficial in China, there are an estimated 10 million baptized Christians (about 1 percent of the population) who celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. The popularity of midnight mass has grown so swiftly over the past few years that most Catholic churches can not hold the numbers who come out Christmas Eve. While Christmas Day is not a public holiday, Christmas celebrations are becoming more popular in China itself. Particularly in urban areas, one can find
Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations on the streets and in department stores. Attendance at Christmas Eve mass has also become more popular in recent years. With each passing year, the Chinese public is becoming more conscious about the significance of Christmas, and more and more people are beginning to participate and immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas celebrations.