When you consider that the most popular car in China right now is a Buick you’ve got to imagine that they’re starting to celebrate Christmas in China. And, you’re sort of right.
As the phrase goes: Put Christ back into Christmas. Turn it around and you pretty much have the way Christmas is celebrated in most of China. To the non-Christians (and that still leaves several million who are Christians) Christmas is when you go shopping in malls that play Christmas music” and get pre-Holiday discounts and give presents.
You can even find Christmas trees – usually artificial (where does your artificial Christmas tree come from?) – that you can decorate with traditional paper lanterns and other origami-type paper adornments. The younger generation adds lights.
While not exactly Santa, the Chinese do have a gift-giver named Dun Che Lao Ren, which roughly translates to Christmas Old Man. He puts gifts in kids’ muslin stockings. We’re not sure if they’re hung by the chimney with care. He might also place a red envelope containing “lucky money” in there. Or, he might wait for New Year’s.
The Chinese government has traditionally frowned on anything to do with religion but they do seem cool with a secular, commercial Christmas as long as it promotes social harmony and increased sales.
A bigger deal is the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival.) 2010 is the year of the Tiger and February 3, 2011 will begin the year of the Rabbit ( ). Is it like paper, rock, scissors? If you’re born in the year of the Tiger does that mean Rabbits will become Tiger food in future business dealings? That’s for another article entirely.
For now, yē dàn jié ( ) to all and to all a Good Night.