Christmas in China!
Christmas in China is steadily becoming an established festive season celebrated by many! Just like in the west, China has beautiful Christmas scenery! In fact, you could go as far to say that their city decorations are somewhat more extravagant than some cities in England, well this is certainly true for Birmingham!
Christmas in Beijing is very popular, especially with the younger generation. There are many social events taking place throughout the festive season, one to mention is the Christmas karaoke extravaganza! This is a very popular event among the expat community.If you want to experience a little of the true Christmas spirit then you can head to one of Beijing’s Christmas choir services! The main choir service is held on Christmas eve throughout various churches, named ‘Ping’an Ye- from the translation of the carol Silent Night’ This is translated as ‘Peaceful Night’. This is a truly spectacular event with choral, dance and drama performances all in candle light.
Father Christmas is no stranger in China, especially in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong! Father Christmas known as ‘Shengdan La Oren’ can be found in many department stores offering Christmas cheer to all who wish to meet him!
It is safe to say, one of the most important aspects of Christmas is the food! In the west we all go Turkey mad! However, in China the typical food found at the family feast is roast barbecued pork, chicken, and soup with wood ears, these are just a few to name, the list goes on! A lot like Santa’s good or bad list!! A lovely Christmas tradition in China is the giving of apples wrapped in coloured paper, this is because the Chinese word for apple sounds a lot like the word for ‘peace’, as a result this tradition has become a Christmas eve favourite, why you ask? The word for Christmas eve in Chinese means peaceful/quiet evening…hence…’Silent Night’! Very clever right?
Another truly breath taking festive scene in China is the TA Chiu Festival, taking place December 27th. A priest reads out the names of everyone living in the surrounding area, once the priest has finished reading the list, the names are put on a paper horse and burned, bringing the hope that they will rise to heaven. This is certainly a photo worthy event for the memory book!
Just like in the west, schools in China put on Christmas parties for their staff, this is the chance for the expat community to get together and celebrate. This can be a hard time for some with the tug of home Christmas comforts pulling hard on those heart strings! Yet, no matter where you are in the world you can always throw a good party and really get into the Christmas spirit!
One thing to remember is when you are teaching abroad, the fellow foreign teachers and Chinese teachers become your temporary family, the best advice to receive is to enjoy your time together, share exciting new experiences and rely on each other for support.
Key phrase to learn: Happy Christmas- ‘Sheng Dan Kuai Le’