Christmas and New Year`s Eve in China

Christmas is not a religious holiday in China, but due to various marketing campaigns and as celebrating brings people together, the western holiday is getting more and more popular among young people.

Even if Christmas is not celebrated for religious reasons, the occasion is used to decorate public places and to share the spirit and the atmosphere of Christmas. Shopping malls, western restaurants, cinemas and karaoke bars will put large Christmas trees and do a lot of Christmas decorations during this period.

But one thing on Christmas Eve is the same in China – getting together with your loved ones. In the evening of the 24th, modern young people will make their way to the city center to have their Christmas dates and all the shops are still opened till late at night. 

Young women will dress up based on the Christmas atmosphere which should be red, gold and green color. Young men are organizing exciting and romantic dates and delight their women with presents like perfume or cosmetics from premium brands.

An evening of joy, memories and driving economy. So people also say, in China, Christmas Eve is just another valentine’s day.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the spring festival, is celebrated even more. It`s the most important festival in China and also the most important celebration for families. It is based on the moon calendar so the upcoming year of the rat will start on 25.01.2020.

Similar to Christmas Eve, people get together with their family on New Year`s Eve for a big dinner. But there are definitely some cultural particularities. Wishing for a fresh start, people are preparing for the next year by cleaning the house and decorating it in red about a week before New Year`s Eve. As in old China money was meant to be used to drive bad evils away, children get red envelopes packed with money from their families as a symbol of protection and luck.

One thing should not be missing in China, too: Big fireworks at midnight, which are supposed to threat bad luck away. On the very first day of the new year, people will set off fireworks again to have a “red and on fire year”.

As the celebration is all about family, married daughters traditionally visit their own parents on the second day of the new year. The God of the future will arrive on the fifth day, thus it is another day for setting off fireworks and cleaning so that the god will come into the house.

In addition to these traditions, there is one thing that seems familiar to us: Similar to the German Christmas markets there are New Year`s markets from the first to the seventh day of the new year in China. So you can see, there are similar customs all over the world.

Have you ever experienced the Chinese New Year?


Author: Yue Liu, Spiegel Institut Mannheim

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