• Sue Wu

How holiday traditions cross cultural boundaries in China

This holiday season people seem to be focused too much on the discounted and materialistic goods than the actual honor and meaning of each respective holiday this season. Merchants and companies of all sizes and fields are putting on holiday sales for those buying presents for their loved ones. In an effort to earn the last bundle of money they are likely receiving from their consumers this year. Other cultures have parallel midwinter feasts and celebrations; here’s a story about the meeting of cultures and traditions.


While the holiday spirit for Christmas and New Year is still high, the way people celebrate is changing quite significantly. Are traditionally meaningful celebrations at the end of the winter, shifting towards simply gifting presents to each other?


“Out of all the memories I have had with my family during the Chinese New Year, one year stood out to me,” said Vivian Xiao, a PB sophomore born in Shengzhen. During our conversation, she explained that she spent many years of her education in Christian schools, so Christmas was a big day of the year for her. Her parents, on the other hand, are very traditional Chinese, so her family prioritizes more effort into celebrating the Chinese New Year.


Vivian then started telling the exceptional holiday she had with her family during the Chinese New Year when her parents bought packages of frozen dumplings and glutinous rice balls (which is a traditional Chinese dish popular in the Eastern part of China that symbolizes the family reunion) and had those as main dishes for the entire month of the festival. She remembers those dishes as a special flavor from home, and she treasures the memory of her family having quality time together during the very special day. Vivian explained that it didn’t really matter what presents she got that year since the most important gift was that memory.


Vivian then talked about her favorite Christmas. “It was actually last Christmas, since my family went to Japan and it was winter, so I was able to see snow for the first time in my life!” she excitedly explained. For her, Christmas is a very important holiday, but her family doesn’t take it as seriously as her, so having such a special Christmas is certainly very important.


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