China is huge! It covers an area of 5,000 km by 5,500 km of East Asia. China boasts the largest population of any country in the world with a whopping 1.4 billion people living there at the time of writing.
94% of the population live in the Eastern third of the country due to the geography of the landscape and climate.
China is well known for many things including its Chinese new year celebrations (which last 15 days), The Great Wall of China, giant pandas, the Terracotta Army and the Himalayas that run along the border between China, Nepal and through several other countries.
Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th December.
Christianity in China only represents around 1% of the total population so it's generally only the large cities that will celebrate the festival.
In the big cities, it's becoming more common to see Christmas trees, especially in shopping malls, along with decorations and lights. Some stores may also have Santa's grottos. It's not common for people to have trees at home, but those who do will usually have a plastic tree and will decorate them with paper in the form of chains, flowers and lanterns. The tree is sometimes referred to as the tree of light.
Whilst Christians are still a very small section of the population, the younger generation are starting to enjoy celebrating at Christmas parties in the big cities. It's also becoming more popular for young couples to exchange gifts at Christmas.
- Postmen dress as Santa
- carol singing
- Midnight mass
** A tradition that's becoming popular, on Christmas Eve, is giving apples. Many stores have apples wrapped up in coloured paper for sale. People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese Christmas Eve is called "Ping'an Ye" (平安夜), meaning peaceful or quiet evening, which has been translated from the carol 'Silent Night'. The word for apple in Mandarin is "píngguǒ" (苹果) which sounds like the word for peace.
Our next Christmas around the world destination is Colombia, where we will see how the Colombians celebrate Christmas.