Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chinese Christmas Traditions by Allison Jones

Here comes Christmas, Old Man!
In China, Christmas is only celebrated in the large tourist cities, but their festivities don’t have anything to do with the Nativity Christmas story. Only about 1% of the Chinese population are Christians and know the story behind the holiday. Just like us, they decorate with trees and Santas, but most factory workers that make decorations don’t even know what they’re for.  
While most traditions are the same as ours, there are numerous subtle differences between the cultures. Because most people don’t know the true story behind Christmas, they don’t sing “The First Noel” or “Away in a Manger”. “Jingle Bells” is the most popular carol. While exchanging gifts has become more popular, the original tradition was to give your friends and family apples. Their word for Santa (Dun Che Lao Ren) directly translates to “ Christmas Old Man”. Illuminated lanterns are hung everywhere.
They exchange apples as a gift.       Public Decorations

On Christmas Day, the Chinese people celebrate by throwing parties, shooting fireworks, and going out to eat extravagant dinners. Chinese Christmas dinner usually includes a duck stuffed with chicken, ham, shrimp, chestnuts, bamboo, scallops and mushrooms. Christmas is just one of seventeen holidays recognized during the winter season. China’s biggest holiday is New Year’s, where they shoot fireworks, have parades, and perform “the lion dance”.  New Year’s is as big in Asia as Christmas is in America. School is only closed on Christmas Day, they don’t get a long break. Once the festivities are over, the Chinese priest comes out for a ceremony where he reads off the name of anyone who lives in that area.  After, the list is read off, they put it on a paper statue of  horse and burn it down. They believe the smoke goes to heaven.

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