How is Christmas Celebrated in China?


Although Christmas is not a traditional festival in China, many Chinese people like the idea of celebrating Christmas.

It is not common in a Chinese household to have Christmas trees or decorations, but outside, especially in big cities, extravagant Christmas trees, lights and decorations will be set out on the streets, in the hotels and department stores. While retail brands are building Christmas into their shopping events, Jingle Bells and other tunes are played over and over throughout the holiday season.

Santa Claus is known as 圣诞老人 (Shèngdàn Lǎorén, literally meaning old Christmas man) in Chinese and his gift giving is well known in China. Many young Chinese enjoy Christmas parties with their friends and exchange gifts.

A new trend in China on Christmas Eve is to give apples to your friends. Apple in Chinese is 苹果 (píngguǒ) and Christmas Eve in Chinese is often called 平安夜 (Píng’ān yè, literally meaning safe night). The similar Chinese pronunciations bring the “pingguo” and “ping’anye” together and clever traders have branded pingguo as ping’an guo to link it more with ping’an ye. Giving apples to friends is particularly popular among youngsters. Some teenagers wrap their apples with colourful wrapping paper – the amount of wrapping paper used measures the depth of the friendship!