With Christmas having come and gone and New Year’s just around the corner, I have come to Shanghai in the middle of two of the biggest holidays in the States. But elements of these holidays are all around Shanghai, which is interesting, and each of the holidays are a little different.
Christmas, for example, has a large presence in the advertising in Shanghai. Large billboards feature Santa and other non-religious Christmas icons. But, as I have been told, Christmas in Shanghai is not a religious holiday for most people (and it can be debated that it’s not one in the U.S.A. anymore too.) Instead, Christmas has developed into a holiday similar to Valentines day. Many couples go out on dates on Christmas day. However, this holiday and practice are largely followed by young people.
At restaurants on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, many of the staff wore Santa hats and signs were posted proclaiming, “Happy X-Mas” or “Merry Christmas.”
When I was out and about Christmas day, the streets were packed with shoppers looking for deals. Alicia explained to me that many Chinese workers receive their year end bonuses from their companies and spend the bonuses right away. Therefore, the streets were full on Christmas day with eager shoppers. Think Black Friday times 10.
New Year’s Eve is similar to this, I’ve been told. Since the Chinese New Year isn’t for another month, the western New Year’s Eve is less important, but still celebrated. The shoppers come back out on New Year’s Eve and shop until midn
ight. Perhaps I’ll do some shopping too, since I still have a bunch of gifts to get for everyone. We are also getting a day off work, which will be nice.
Even though there are some remnants of the holidays I am missing, I can’t say I’m missing them too much. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are nice, but they still don’t beat being in Shanghai for a month.