Christmas, or Sheng Dan Jieh (Holy Birth Festival) is not a big holiday in China, but those who do celebrate it decorate their holiday trees, known as “trees of light,” with paper flowers and lanterns. The holiday times are greeted by fireworks and entertainers. Larger cities like Hong Kong and Beijing are adorned with Christmas décor. Stockings made from muslin are set out in hopes that Dun Che Lao Ren (the Chinese version of Santa Claus, aka Christmas Old Man) will fill them with gifts.
Ta Chiu is celebrated in Hong Kong. This time of peace and renewal takes place on December 27th. Wishes for the next year are requested by paying to the ghosts of ones ancestors. Lists of the names of the living are affixed to a horse which is burned so that the smoke will carry those names to the heavens where ancestors are reminded of the wishes made for the coming months.
The main holiday in Japan comes in the spring – the Lunar New Year. Thank you to ITM’s JeniLynn for shooting this video of the Chinese Lion Dance. This symbol of luck and courage is a central part of most holidays in China including the New Year’s celebration.
There’s more to learn about the various Christmas customs from around the World Showcase. Check back with ITM for another installment.