Tis the season…
All three of our InternChina offices put up decorations and Christmas trees today to get in the festive mood.
A few of our Chinese colleagues had never seen a Christmas tree before or even knew Michael Jackson had sung ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’… or that he was even in a band called Jackson five for that matter!
So, I decided to write about blog about what the Chinese think about Christmas.
Only about one percent of the Chinese population are Christian, so most people only know a few things about Christmas. Because of this, Christmas is only often celebrated in the major cities. In these big cities there are Christmas trees, lights and other decorations on the streets and in department stores (which is usually then left up all year round.. Im guessing they consider it like a broken clock.. got to be right at least once!)
Most Chinese won’t even have a day off work for Christmas!
A tradition that’s becoming popular, on Christmas Eve, is giving apples. Many stores have apples wrapped up in coloured paper for sale. People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese Christmas Eve is called ‘Ping An Ye’ (which means peaceful night) and the word for apple in Chinese is ‘Ping Guo’ which sounds similar.
In Chinese Christmas is ‘Sheng Dan’ 圣诞
Happy Christmas is said ‘Zhu Ni Sheng Dan Kuai Le’ 圣诞快乐
Santa Claus is ‘Sheng dan lao ren’ Literally Christmas old man!
The strange thing is that most of the world’s plastic Christmas Trees and Christmas decorations are made in China, but the people making them probably have no idea what they are for!
For all westerners in China – Don’t worry, all of the foreign hotels put on a lovely Christmas dinner and you can feel a real community spirit amongst the interns and expats all banding together to celebrate the holiday.
Also, if youre an intern in one of our cities.. don’t worry, I know that the InternChina team will tell you where to go, organise an event on the day or even invite you all round to their house for a home cooked turkey dinner!