Mandy Kelly will be our tour guide today as we stop in China today on our tour of Christmas Around the World, Day 17.
How do you celebrate Christmas in a culture that doesn’t really understand who Christ is? I will tell you, it can be very hard. Everything that you know of from the culture of Christmas is still used- but there is nothing spiritual about it. Christmas without nativity scenes. That would be Christmas in China.
Chinese Christmas Decorations
Walking by department stores, there are twinkling lights and Christmas trees. However, (and I speak from experience here) it is not uncommon to see those same decorations decorating the halls in July! Christmas is mainly celebrated only in the big cities, and only by about the 1-5% of the nation who are Christians. The spiritual side of the holiday is overlooked by many – although in recent years, there has been a growth in the real reason for the holiday.
One interesting piece of trivia is that even though most fake Christmas trees are made in China, and even used in displays there, many Chinese people who don’t know what they are! If people do have trees, they decorate them with differently then we would, with lots of paper lanterns (also big because of Chinese New Year!) and flowers.
Chinese Christmas Traditions
Many Chinese celebrate Christmas with a lot of shopping and gift giving. It is a very material holiday for those who don’t have faith. Jobs don’t stop on Christmas day, and so many celebrate with a dinner, often at a restaurant, on Christmas Eve.
A tradition that is becoming popular on Christmas Eve, is giving apples. Many stores have apples wrapped up in colored paper for sale. People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese Christmas Eve is called Ping An Ye (which means quiet or silent night) and the word for apple in Chinese is Ping Guo which sounds similar.
Even with all of this, the Chinese would consider their New Year, in January, to be their big holiday. New Years is when gifts are given, along with cards, and money. This is the day many will get off of work, and be able to spend the day with their families.
Have you ever been in China for Christmas? What can you share with us about your experiences?
- Chinese Duck (or turkey) recipe – the Shanghainese version of a turkey featuring a duck stuffed with diced chicken, smoked ham, peeled shrimp, fresh chestnuts, bamboo shoots, dried scallops and mushrooms stir-fried with slightly undercooked rice, soy sauce, ginger, spring onions, white sugar and rice wine.
- Chinese Almond Cookies recipe
- Chinese native costume coloring page
- Chinese New Year’s coloring page
- Chinese Instrument craft
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Mandy is passionate about two things: The Word of God and the Souls of Men (and Ladies!). She is married to her best friend, and gets the privilege to love on their three blessings (who lost their biological momma leaving her husband widowed). Her story of infertility, and now adoption (her husbands three- and a fourth on the way!) is also a passion that is seen in almost all she does. Mandy has been a teacher for 15 years and loves to bring God glory through her roles as Christ-follower, Wife and Mother and Writer (in that order!) Her greatest desires are to have her marriage bring God glory, see her children walk in truth, to lead others to the feet of Jesus, and to lead women into deeper and intimate relationship with their Savior through study of the Word of God. Follow Mandy at her blog Worshipful Living.