Celebrating Christmas in China is an exceptionally distinctive and memorable experience due to the mindset of society as a whole, which places greater emphasis on communal cohesion. Celebrating Christmas in China provides a clear demonstration of a kind of celebration where the main emphasis is on experiencing excitement rather than understanding the festivities’ deeper implications.
In this article, we’ll discuss Chinese Christmas traditions and see how these people enjoy being in the moment and appreciate the presence of their family and friends!
History Of Christmas In China
Christmas is a very recent phenomenon in China, having only entered the mainstream of that country’s culture later in the 1990s, and it is now unquestionably a commercial feast.
Even though China is home to 20% of the world’s population, there are just a few million Christians there. Missionaries first observed the religious celebration in the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the 1920s and 1930s that it gained widespread acceptance. It again lost favor when the Communist Party assumed power in 1949.
In the 1980s, when the Communist regime became quite less rigid, Christmas began to resurface in China. It is assumed that the government gave in since doing so would have been a great way to make money. By the middle of the 1990s, it had developed into a commercial success as businesses commenced selling, people started decorating, and economic indexes became vivid.
However, the Communist government imposed too much pressure to prevent religion from being observed during Christmas, and as a result, Christmas in China evolved into a commercialized version of the celebration.
Chinese Christmas Traditions & Celebration Culture
Considering that it’s an enjoyable occasion that’s frequently celebrated with friends rather than family, Christmas in China is observed more similarly to Valentine’s Day.
Eating a “Peace Apple” on Christmas Eve is customary. Young individuals are especially likely to accomplish this by sending it as gifts to their friends. According to locals, eating an apple on Christmas Eve will grant you a prosperous and peaceful new year.
Due to the imminent danger of foreign imperialism, China has strict laws governing religious rituals. Even though the number of Christmas festivities is rising, nationalists are hesitant and, in some circumstances, not pleased with the idea of incorporating Christmas into their society and culture. As they see Western culture as becoming overly dominant, they are trying to maintain their traditional celebrations.
As a result, many of the religious customs associated with the holiday season are prohibited in some places. However, the majority of Chinese people ignore the traditional Christian message and use the holiday season as an opportunity to party with their friends.
Even though Christmas in China isn’t a widely observed holiday, the season frequently features a lot of magnificent decorations. One of the most common is the “Tree of Light,” which is a plastic Christmas tree decorated with a variety of attractive paper lanterns.
The Best 5 Places To Celebrate Christmas In China
Traveling to China in December provides you and your family with wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday adventures with low-season costs, peacefulness at the major tourist attractions, and a wide choice of leisure activities to delight from north to south.
We’ve chosen the 5 most popular locations listed below for the holiday season to let you understand how people truly experience Christmas in China:
While celebrating Christmas in China, your journeys to historical sites will be much more mindful and serene due to the unique quietness of winter in Beijing and the decrease in tourists. You will enjoy the beautiful snowy panorama of the capital, particularly the magnificent Great Wall of China, which is sharply defined by white hills and the white snow that covers the Forbidden City’s backdrop of red walls and golden glazed tiles.
Skiing is one of the most famous activities during the winter time in China for families visiting Beijing. If you long for breathtaking Great Wall nighttime vistas, are interested in Beijing’s ancient folk traditions, or simply love winter hot springs, Gubei Water Town is a must-visit.
It is also advised to visit the Bird’s Nest on Christmas days, as the national stadium changes every year to host the Ice and Snow Festival. Additionally, while the Beijing Playhouse is one of the primary holiday performers and presents a play with a Christmas theme every year, the Bookworm organizes readings and live music in the evening that forge a unique cultural connection between China and Christmas.
When winter arrives, Harbin is beautifully decorated with stunning ice and snow art, so it undoubtedly has everything you require to enjoy a wonderful winter vacation while enjoying Christmas in China. On Central Street, you might see artists creating masterpieces out of smaller ice cubes. Don’t forget to try Madie’er ice cream when you are in Harbin.
Over 6 months of the year, the Songhua River, which runs through Harbin City, is frozen. Ice pickers start gathering large ice blocks in early December to prepare for the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. On the frozen river, fun winter activities are set up for both adults and kids, including ice skiing, hovercraft rides, snowmobiling, and wheelchairs.
Stunning snow sculptures, enormous snowy designs, and life-size illuminated ice carvings are already visible throughout the Christmas season, even though the Harbin Ice Festival doesn’t start until the beginning of January.
Changbaishan is situated in the province of Jilin, close to the North Korean and Chinese borders. The name Changbaishan translates to “Forever-White Mountain” and refers to the mountain’s permanently snow-capped peak. Changbaishan is regarded as a winter paradise and represents one of the most prominent areas to delight in the marvelous scenery of Christmas in China.
In Changbaishan, in addition to the thrilling skiing sports, the fairytale snow amusement parks, the frozen lake, the world’s highest volcanic waterfall, and the calming hot springs, you can also enjoy rafting on a hot spring river while the air temperature is -30°C. Wintertime temperatures in the hot spring river are maintained between 6 and 8 °C, and it never freezes.
Chengdu is a top choice if you’re looking for a vacation that combines sightseeing and skiing, excellent dining, and witnessing huge pandas. A Panda Keeper Program is currently being offered at Dujiangyan Panda Base, where you shouldn’t miss seeing the gorgeous giant pandas on your route from Chengdu to Bipenggou.
In Chengdu, you can sample genuine Sichuan food and pick up true Sichuan cooking techniques. Additionally, you can take pleasure in the excitement of skiing in the picturesque Bipenggou National Park and relax in a natural mineral hot spring in a winter paradise.
Sanya is a stunning tourist destination with about 50 km of shoreline, and it is situated on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. It is well-known for its flawless white sand beaches, pleasant temperatures, the sea’s deep blue color, the abundance of fresh seafood, and the unique local culture.
With an average high temperature of 27°C in December, Sanya is the warmest city in China. Sanya is a popular winter vacation spot for tourists who want to enjoy Christmas in China because of its expansive coastline, wonderful weather, charming islands, and golden shoreline. Leave your winter coat at home and try some thrilling water sports like sailing, banana boating, and water scootering while snorkeling in the clear, blue water.
There are roughly 7 bays with desirable beaches in Sanya. Yalong Bay features the most gorgeous beaches, the cleanest waters, and the highest caliber hotels, making it the one that is most frequently suggested for couples and families.
Everything About Christmas Mouth-Melting Chinese Feasts
Christmas in China is celebrated with lavish feasts prepared by Western restaurants and hotels. They offer traditional holiday fare like turkey, roast beef, cranberry sauce, and vegetable sides. Holiday guests can enjoy Christmas buffets at large international hotel chains, but bookings must be made months in advance or guests risk forgetting the turkey.
Delicate treats like Christmas snacks and peppermint candies are sold in department stores, bakeries, and major supermarket stores. Western Christmas meals and treats are usually more easily accessible at international chain grocery stores than in other places.
While most Chinese opt for dining out on Christmas, certain households prefer to prepare traditional snacks and Christmas feasts at home and adhere to their delicacies, such as dumplings, Peking duck, smoked ham, shrimp, fresh chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms seasoned with mushy rice, soy sauce, ginger, and rice wine.
A fruit bowl, especially one with tangerines and oranges, is frequently the centerpiece of Christmas table decorations. This is due to the belief that oranges may ward off evil spirits and bring money, joy, and good luck.
As you can see, Christmas traditions in China are still relatively recent, and the holiday is primarily celebrated as a commercial occasion rather than a holy day. In light of this, Christmas in China resembles the celebration of love, and the primary focus is more on having fun than on comprehending the underlying meanings of the festivity.
However, there is no denying that spending Christmas in China will offer you and your loved ones a delightful holiday experience with low-season costs and a wide selection of entertainment options to delight yourself everywhere in the country.
Nato is a content writer and researcher with a background in psychology who’s eager to explore the wonders of nature. As a travel enthusiast and animal lover, she hopes to inspire others to discover and cherish the beauty and importance of the natural world.