Not having the Christian background that the west has Christmas in China today is a mostly commercial affair aimed squarely at young people. Yesterday evening after work I went for a wander around my local shopping mall, the enormous “Coastal City”, and was amazing to see the number of people out and about enjoying the lights and blatant consumerism –
Although Christianity is still generally frowned upon in China, there are an estimated 10 million baptised Christians (about 1 per cent of the population) who celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time and this number is steadily increasing.
Usually, the mall is pretty quite quiet (most of the shops are ridiculously expensive) but tonight things were buzzing. Most of the restaurants were full and people were queuing up outside.
Classic Chinese dining with a festive twist! I’m not sure if many people knew the true meaning of Christmas but the children were certainly enjoying it and all the restaurants were doing great business.
Ice skating in a city which is usually 30°C+ – it seems that no self-respecting mega-mall is complete around here without a skating arena. I’ve only tried it once before about 12 years ago when I was in France on an exchange trip and wasn’t very good!
It’s my first time away from home at Christmas and it feels quite weird not to be having the traditional Christmas lunch and sitting around the Christmas tree opening presents with all the family but it’s been nice to see at least a bit of festive spirit around Shenzhen even if it’s not quite the same. Merry Christmas to one and all!