As part of our series on Christmas traditions worldwide, this is the second part to a Q&A where Baoli Wang, China Country Manager, describes Christmas Eve in China to Peru Country Manager Daniel Salazar.
D: What do Chinese people do on Christmas Eve? How is it different from western countries?
B: Fun is the theme of Christmas for most Chinese. On Christmas Eve, people do different things for fun, but not staying at home. We go out to the street for Christmas Eve, to stroll and see the Christmas displays on the streets, wear a head gear and carnival masks, light a few crackers, or simply walk along the streets following the stream of people, talking and laughing. We go to movie theaters, karaoke bars, do shopping and eat a special dinner outside. Yes, shopping is big for us on this day. There are also lots of big sales in large department stores and they are as crowded as the main streets in downtown of the city.
D: Do people give out gifts on Christmas?
B: Again, it’s only among the young people, especially those who are in love. Chocolate or a romantic outing are typical. But Chinese like to attach meaning to words for special days, so there is one thing that we give as gifts to other on Christmas. You will probably never guess what it is – APPLES. This traditions only started a couple of years ago. The reason for this is that Christmas Eve is the “Night of Peace” in Chinese, and the word apple sounds like the word “peace”. So apples, printed with words “peace” or “Merry Christmas” and nicely wrapped are sold at higher prices on that day. Christmas Eve in China is a night of fun, peace, and apples. You should join us one day!