Christmas in China

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December 25 is not a legal holiday in mainland China. The tiny portion of Chinese residents who believe themselves to be Christian, celebrate Christmas privately and in most cases unofficially. A number of other citizens indulge in lots of Christmas style activities although they don't support the true significance of Christmas. Commercial Christmas decorations, signs, and other symbolic items have become increasingly prevalent during the month of December in large urban districts and are now becoming very popular.

Most people throw a big New Years Eve celebration and some families enjoy a large Christmas dinner at a restaurant. Shops sell plastic trees and Christmas decorations for customers to decorate their homes and businesses with. On Christmas Eve, Christian children in China hang up their muslin stockings that are specially made so that Dun Che Lao Ren, or "Christmas Old Man," can fill them with surprise gifts. Santa Claus may also be called Lan Khoong-Khoong, "Nice Old Father." Santa Claus is a popular good-luck figure.

Christians in China refer to Christmas as 'Sheng Dan Jieh', which translates to mean Holy Birth Festival. They embellish their houses using posters, bright paper chains, and evergreens. Many traditions, including exchanging gifts, sending cards, and hanging stockings are much like Western festivities. Household’s mantels a Christmas tree, called "tree of light," and attire it with stunning flowers, lanterns, and red paper chains that represent happiness. They cut out red pagodas to paste on the windows, and they light their houses with paper lanterns too.

China along with other countries enjoys the colour and sparkle that Christmas brings to the dull winter season. Big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong are gaily decorated at Christmas. The Christmas season is welcomed in with fireworks, Jugglers and acrobats entertain, and people enjoy the fun and happiness. In Hong Kong, which recently was restored to Chinese rule, Christmas Day is just one of seventeen public holidays.

As a result of the vast majority of Chinese people not being Christian, the primary winter celebration in China is the well known Chinese New Year. This festivity takes place right at the end of January. Formally known as the "Spring Festival," this is the time when children receive new toys, get brand new clothes, eat luxurious meals, and enjoy firecracker displays. It is important to worship the ancestors during this time of year. Paintings and portraits of ancestors are brought out and displayed in the primary room of the home.

The Chinese celebrations are different to many countries as there is a divide in beliefs of Christianity. There are people who celebrate Christmas and those who then use the ‘Spring Festivities’ to celebrate the sense of family and well-being.