Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mary Christmas

Christmas is a relatively new concept in China.

Factory workers know it by assembling toys for the mad rush in the stores, or producing Christmas-related merchandise.

The day isn't observed in the country so the Chinese will be working on the 25th. It'll be just another day at the office for them.

Many of my colleagues are curious about the holiday. They think, like Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, that everyone gets at least a week off. But I have to explain to them not everyone takes that whole time off, that many people are still working in between Christmas and New Year's. It's just that many people choose to take their annual leave at that time. My coworkers were quite surprised when they heard that.

They also wondered what we did for Christmas. I basically described the ritual of opening presents, eating turkey and seeing family and friends. Many say they don't like turkey, thinking the meat is very dry, but they either have never tried it before, or never had it with gravy!

Before I left on holidays, I tried (but not too hard) to find candy canes, something I usually give out to colleagues. Worried they may not like the taste, I handed out mini Snickers bars instead. For me it felt like Halloween.

But they all appreciated it very much. I just hope they don't think Christmas is the time to hand out chocolate bars.

A few even gave me presents -- including a Chinese dictionary, a stuffed puppy, and a Christmas card.

Even though they don't really know what the holiday is about, it's really sweet to be appreciated at this time of year. And especially on the low salaries they have too.

As for Mary Christmas, my colleague told me he saw that sign on a restaurant with decorations.

In a way it's true -- it does involve Mary in some way.

1 comment:

ks said...

it is just the same many countries never heard of chinese new year. china is not a christian country it is obvious they dont celebrate christmas . it is only those cities like hong kong, shanghai, macao with western contacts know about it. overseas chinese of course observe these festivities even though a lot of them dont even know what is it all about.