Here is an an al-acarte of stories and posts related to Christmas in China. And as we say in Chinese, Shengdan Kuai le (圣诞快乐), which means, well Merry Christmas. The Chinese word for Christmas is Shengdan Jie (圣诞节), which literally translated means Holy Birth Festival.
From The Economist: Oh What Fun: Christmas with Chinese Characteristics
Cities across China blink with fairy lights, fancy hotels flaunt trees and tinsel, and glossy magazine covers display festive recipes and table settings. “Joy up!” reads a sign (in English) on three illuminated trees by a shopping mall in Beijing. The Chinese are doing just that.
From the Atlantic: Why Christmas is Huge in China
There’s a joke going around: “Santa Claus was descending into China from the sky. Due to the heavy smog, he fell to the ground, but no one dared help him up. While he was still lying in the snow, his bag was ransacked for presents, and his reindeer and sleigh taken away by the chengguan. Therefore, no Christmas this year.”
While some of the humor needs context—there are digs at China’s notorious bystander effect and much-despised urban-management officials, chengguan—the larger meaning is clear. Ironic jokes about Santa’s routine being disrupted with uniquely Chinese characteristics are a sure sign that, yes, they do know it’s Christmas time in communist China.
Christened “China’s Christmas village”, Yiwu is home to 600 factories that collectively churn out over 60% of all the world’s Christmas decorations and accessories, from glowing fibre-optic trees to felt Santa hats. The “elves” that staff these factories are mainly migrant labourers, working 12 hours a day for a maximum of £200 to £300 a month – and it turns out they’re not entirely sure what Christmas is.
And a reminder of my previous posts on Christmas in China:
The Great Manchurian Scarf Incident — an account of attempting to celebrate Christmas in small Manchurian (northeast China) town.
Some Thoughts on “Ping An Ye” (Silent Night) — on discovering that the Chinese word for Christmas Eve is “The Silent Night”
The Silent Night — more stories of Christmas Eve in China
Santa on a Scooter — What’s not to love about that?
And finally, a few links to article by Chinese Christians about Christmas in China, from Chinese Church Voices:
Preparing for Christmas — a Chinese pastor asks his congregation to make the proper preparations.
Villagers of the Chinese Christmas Village Don’t Know What Christmas Is — a Christian blogger responds to news reports about Yiwu, the town where most of the world’s Christmas decorations are made.
(photo: Christmas program at Gangwashi Protestant Church in Beijing, 2006)