CHRISTMAS IN CHINA
The paper lanterns, one of the most important religious images of the Chinese people,
symbolize the coming of the new year. The paper characters that also adorn the tree are
the words for luck, long life, prosperity and happiness. Wealth, abundance, rebirth and
freedom from restraints are all qualities represented by the tree's fish ornaments. The Feng Huang,
the Phoenix, is known as the emperor of all birds and stands for rebirth. Another bird, the Golden Pheasant,
symbolizes the attributes of beauty and good fortune. The Giant Panda can also be found on China's
tree as a reminder of the country's living treasures.
While China's small Christian community has adopted many rituals similar to those of the west,
Chinese Christians have many unique traditions of their own. The Christmas season, commonly known
in China as Sheng Dan Jien, brings a visit from Dun Che Lao Ren, Old Man Christmas, who delivers gifts
to the children. Homes and Christmas trees, called Trees of Light, are decorated with dozens of colored
lanterns and relatives exchange flowers and gifts. Christmas in China coincides with the Spring Festival
honoring the family's ancestors. Meals, firecrackers, and presents are all significant parts of this holiday.
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