Although only about 10 million people in China (roughly 1 percent) consider themselves Christians, a fact that they keep private, Christmas is still a celebrated time of year across the nation. Chinese are interested in the commercial aspect of the holiday more than they are the religious reasons behind it, but still love to celebrate and spend time with their families during the Christmas season.
The Chinese decorate trees, called Trees of Light, with paper flowers, lanterns and chains. Houses are decorated in beautiful lights, and Chinese children hang stockings made of muslin.
Families in China make large meals to celebrate Christmas. Some of the more interesting items include lotus roots fried with ginkgo, pork tongue salad and tingling spicy chicken.
On Christmas Eve, children anxiously await a visit from Dun Che Lao Ren, the Chinese version of Santa Claus. The translation means “Christmas Old Man.” Valuable gifts, such as jewelry, can only be given to someone's immediate family.
Chinese Christians go to a midnight Mass on Christmas morning, much like the ones popular in other parts of the world.
Even those who are not Christians celebrate the season through the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year. Called Spring Festival because the new year represents new life, it includes giving the children new clothes, delicious food, small toys and firecrackers with which to celebrate.