“Silent Night” in China – Peter Kwong
During December, visitors to China might think they were entering a Christian country – giant Christmas trees twinkle in subtropical Guangzhou, artificial snowflakes fall on street revelers in Nanjing to the sound of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and Santa Clauses smile from storefronts on every commercial thoroughfare of every major city.
Globalization has brought all the forces of Christmas to bear on China: The country manufactures the bulk of the world’s Christmas paraphernalia, Chinese are encouraged to shop ’til they drop to help the local economy, there are those who make merry and their critics who decry holiday commercialization. China’s Christian community is steadily growing, almost as impressively as its economy, but public celebrations of the birth of Christ, like those in the western world, are more about conspicuous consumption than about religion. [Full Text]
[Image source: Joy to the World: China manufactures most Christmas merchandise, and the Chinese have adopted the celebration, complete with decorated trees, storefront Santas and carolers, from yale.edu]