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What to do in China During Christmas Eve?

After a seemingly long wait, it’s finally Christmas Eve 平安夜 (Píng ān yè). The piney smell of the December air starts to fill the nostrils. Along with the smoky cold wind that blows through the town. Making people clench their coats as they shop in retail stores decorated with Christmas-themed ornaments. More and more holiday-themed gimmicks pervade emporiums booming with Christmas songs. Enticing people as they shop last minute for Christmas gifts for their colleagues, friends, and loved ones. The retail commotion continues, like the flicker of Christmas lights as it fills the cold night with bright light. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone is in bliss as they wait in excitement for the clock to strike 12.

During Christmas Eve平安夜 (Píng ān yè), most people around the globe prepare for Christmas day. Celebrating Christmas has been an integral part of the annual holiday celebration. However, the commemoration of Christmas eve has connotations that vary from country to country. While in some countries, people celebrate with a bountiful feast and exchange gifts, this is not the case in China. However, Chinese people still have special activities for Christmas Eve平安夜 (Píng ān yè).

Today, we will explore and paint a picture of Christmas Eve 平安夜 (Píng ān yè) in China. Here are some of the fantastic facts you might be oblivious to about Christmas in China. 

  1. 1. Christmas in China is not specifically religious.

Since time immemorial, Christmas has been an integral part of the annual Christian holiday celebration. Its origin dates back to 336 AD. From then, people celebrate Christmas as a ceremony for the birth of Christ. Thus “Christ”mas

However, in China, Christmas is not affiliated with any religion. Instead, Chinese people combine it with carnival entertainment and customs during Valentine’s day to celebrate. They still decorate homes and retail stores with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and reindeer dolls. However, the gesture is more of entertainment. During Christmas Eve, people in China splurge on shopping, cinema, karaoke, and group dinners. In addition, young couples take this chance to rekindle the romance between them. They take this as a chance to express and appreciate their love for each other. Subsequently, business owners take this chance to promote romantic products for couples. 

  • 2. Eating an apple on Christmas Eve

Chinese people have another custom that demonstrates their love for homophones. During Christmas Eve, they usually eat apples. Chinese young people send apples as a present to their friends. However, this apple is not ordinary. They call it the “Peace apple.” Its origin is quite interesting. In Chinese, Christmas Eve translates into “Ping’an Ye,” which means a peaceful night. Apple in Chinese is “Ping guo,” which sounds like peace. People believe that eating an apple will result in a serene and safe new year. Although this is a prevailing custom in China, many Chinese people don’t know they invented such a practice. Nonetheless, it is still an interesting and sweet Christmas Eve custom. 

Now that we know how Chinese people celebrate Christmas Eve, let us delve into the knowledge points about this holiday. This is to master the topic more efficiently and effectively immerse ourselves with it.  

平安夜 (Píng ān ) Christmas Eve

平安  (píng ān)  safe and sound, well, without mishap, quiet and safe, at peace

夜 (yè) night, dark; in the night; by night; but in the Chinese phrase 平安夜(Píng ān yè) Christmas Eve, “夜 (yè)” means “Eve”

Wǒ zǒng shì zài wǒ péng yǒu jiā guò Píng ān yè

(1) 我总是在我朋友家过平安夜

I always go to my friends’ house on Christmas Eve.

Zài Zhōng guó, adà jiā xǐ huān zài Píng ān yè chī píng guǒ

(2) 在中国,大家喜欢在平安夜吃苹果。

In China, people like eating apples on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is definitely the most wonderful time of the year. Let us strive to make it so. Let’s keep the spirit of Christmas not only in our hearts but also in our actions. May your Christmas this year be more bountiful, happier, and full of blessings. Happy Holidays.

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