My first Christmas in China was in 1984. Wanting to do something nice for the motley crew of foreigners who were working in Henan Province, the Provincial Foreign Affairs Office decided to take us all on a trip to Xi’an, Shaanxi, about 12 hours away by train.
On Christmas Day, we saw all of the sites — the city wall, the Big Goose Pagoda, and the Terra-cotta Warriors. For lunch they took us to the city’s most famous jiaozi (dumpling) restaurant.
All of us would have preferred a quiet Christmas back at our schools, but the officials were adamant that we make the trip, so we just made the best of it.
And it was cold in Xi’an that weekend; in fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so cold in my life, which is saying something since I’m from Minnesota!
Here’s a picture of the cold and motley crew on Christmas Day!
Here are a few recent stories out of China about Christmas:
Heard in the Hutong: What do Beijing’s Think about Christmas? (Wall Street Journal)
Christmas is becoming increasingly popular in China, fuelled both by rising consumerism and the swelling ranks of the country’s 60-100 million Christians. Giant snowflakes, Christmas trees and animatronic Santas can be found in abundance on the streets of Beijing in late December. Yet the trend hasn’t come without controversy, with some calling for a boycott of Christmas and other Western holidays in recent years.
China Christmas Primer (World of Chinese)
With the number of Christians estimated at over 70 million and rising, China is set to house the world’s largest Christian population. This means it’s that time of year when many will brighten their homes with paper lanterns, decorate the Christmas tree, and wait for Santa. But, for many, Christmas is still a relatively alien concept.
Critical Mass (World of Chinese)
Worldwide, there are two kinds of Christmas. While both are a time of joy, one is relatively secular; its trappings are Christmas trees, gifts, reindeer, and the jolly, red, fat version of Saint Nick (going by 圣诞老人, or Christmas Elderly Person in China).
Photo Gallery: Chinese Christmas Art (China Hope Live)
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!