Let’s have some fun!
By Liu Lu, Wang Jian, Wang Di, Yu Li, Cao Ting and Liu Mingyang
Although a majority of Chinese people do not have a Christmas break, the country’s youth have been increasingly getting into the holiday spirit.
Different from family reunions that often mark the celebration in the west, Chinese observe the day by getting together with friends, shopping, giving gifts and romance.
SANTA CLAUS COMING INTO TOWN
On Wednesday of December 24, 7-year-old Guo Xunyu’s primary school teacher is throwing a party to celebrate the western holiday. The children will sing songs, eat snacks and play games with her classmates at primary school.
“It is a wonderful time for our kids to sit around, as well as for us parents to communicate,” said Gao Yajie, one of the parents who helped arrange the activity. “After all, the children are too busy with their daily school work.”
In a community in north Beijing, 26 male volunteers will dress up as “Santa Claus” to deliver gifts to about 260 homes.
According to Meng Jin, an organizer of the activity, the 26 Santa Clauses plan to knock at the door to surprise kids with their presents.
“We aim to leave a wonderful childhood memory for children in our community and Christmas eve is just the right time when the festive atmosphere is everywhere,” she said.
“Many families have registered to get a present for their child, we are recruiting more Santa Clauses for the eve,” she added.
CELEBRATION AROUND THE COUNTRY
In a remote village at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China, a Tibetan woman, Tsering Amon, is busy rehearsing a dance performance for a show on Christmas eve.
Knowledge about the western holiday spread to the Tibetan village through children who learnt about it in school and people who work in big cities. Now, more people in the small village enjoy the jubilant atmosphere when the eve falls.
“Since Christmas celebrations began in 2009, people in the neighborhood have enjoyed it very much. This year, the celebration will last about two hours, including singing, dancing and mini-dramas,” said Tsering Amon.
“We have bought costumes, Christmas hats, masks and presents such as apples for the seniors and pencils and erasers for the children,” she said.
On Christmas, people will send blessings via cellphone, wishing friends and family “merry Christmas,” “good luck,” and “wish you health.”
Last month, construction began on a Santa Park in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
Scheduled to open in 2016, it is jointly built by both China and Finland and will become the first authentic Finnish Santa Park in Asia.
The park, covering about 10,000 square meters, will include scores of entertainment events related with Christmas with a total investment of nearly 200 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars).
Paula Parvianien, deputy head of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, said that the Santa Park will be a platform for Sino-Finnish culture exchange, and help promote the cultural and economic cooperations between the two countries.
Across the Taiwan Strait, various activities will also be held on the island, including live-shows and carnivals, and local churches will be filled with people to sing anthems and exchange presents.
The commercial importance of Christmas in China is obviously increasing.
Walking into a restaurant or shopping mall during the holiday season, Christmas decorations are often be spotted and christmas carols heard. Many businesses have their staff dress up in Santa hats and put on a more chipper attitude.
Near Sanlitun and Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, a nightlife hotspot for both locals and foreigners, restaurants and night clubs host special events on Christmas Eve.
Zhang Hong, a staff in a law firm in Beijing, has scheduled to meet three friends to see a cross talk on Christmas Eve.
“We celebrate Christmas as it is a chance to hang out,” said Zhang. “We make reservations beforehand, as it will be people everywhere when the day comes.”