It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we hope all of you are getting your share of festive cheer. Whilst you relax and eat Christmas cookies, we want to let you know how Christmas is celebrated in China.

A relatively modern phenomenon in China, Christmas is one of the Western festivals that has really captured the nation’s imagination in recent times. As many major Chinese cities are truly international with global brands, you can see Christmas lights, trees and decorations everywhere in urban areas, especially now China has a huge expat population. You can be walking down the street or in a store to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Last Christmas’. You won’t be able to get the voice of George Michael out of your head. It won’t be amiss to see someone dressed as Santa Clause in a shopping centre in Shanghai. However to many native Chinese, Christmas is seen as a light-hearted occasion without the serious knowledge of the origins of the festival – a time when young Chinese like to head out and socialise. It has become a major annual commercial event, this is one of the things it shares with Christmas globally. There are sales galore.

The Day of the Apple

During my first Christmas Eve in China I received an unusual gift from my Chinese friend – an apple. This is how I learnt of the unusual tradition that has developed in China on the twenty-fourthDecember. The day before Christmas Chinese people like to give and eat apples as gifts. The reason for this is because:

Christmas Eve in Mandarin is called ‘píng’ān yè’ (平安夜) which means peaceful or quiet evening. This is derived from the Chinese translation of the Christmas carol ‘Silent Night’.

Apple in Chinese is ‘píngguǒ’ (苹果) which sounds like peace – ‘ping’ (), hence why apples are given out as gifts.

So how do you say Happy Christmas in Chinese?


Shèngdàn kuàilè!

Other key Christmas words:

Shèngdàn jié (圣诞节) – Christmas festival

Shèngdàn lǎorén (圣诞老人) – Father Christmas/Santa Claus

Shèngdàn shù (圣诞树) – Christmas tree

Shèngdàn hèkǎ (圣诞贺卡) – Christmas card

Shèngdàn lǐwù (圣诞礼物 Christmas present

Shèngdàn gòuwù (圣诞购物) Christmas shopping

Shèngdàn huǒ jī (圣诞火鸡) – Christmas turkey

Shèngdàn dà lǐbāo (圣诞大礼包) – Christmas crackers

Shèngdàn wà (圣诞袜) – Christmas stockings

Shèngdàn sònggē (圣诞颂歌) – Christmas Carol

Hú jìshēng (槲寄生) – Mistletoe 
Báisè de shèngdàn jié (
白色的圣诞节) – a white Christmas

Xuěrén (雪人 Snowman

Posted By Instant Mandarin | 2018/12/23


Press Enter To Begin Your Search