Chinese city bans Christmas celebrations in schools




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Chinese city bans

Christmas celebrations in schools



By Yao Yuan and Yu Jingjing



A city in east China has banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens.

Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province said the decision is meant to guide schools in highlighting China’s traditional festivals.

“No middle school, primary school or kindergarten may hold any Christmas-themed activity or celebration,” said the circular issued by the city’s educational authority, adding that there would be inspections on the enforcement.

The purpose of the Christmas ban is not to crack down on all Western festivals, but to reverse the schools’ obsession with Western festivals at the expense of Chinese ones, said Zheng Shangzhong of the city’s educational bureau.

Schools have more of an obligation to tell children the meaning of traditional festivals such as the Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Lunar New Year, he said.

Celebrating Christmas has become trendy among young Chinese, who see the Christian festival as a merry time to shop, party and dine with their friends and significant others. Meanwhile, proponents of traditional Chinese culture have warned against cultural invasion.

A college at Northwest University in Shaanxi Province reportedly kept its students from joining Christmas celebrations by having them watch traditional cultural films on Christmas Eve. Its official microblog account said that Chinese traditional festivals and culture were fading away as more Chinese embrace Western traditions.




Catholics celebrate Christmas eve in a church in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi

Province, on December 24, 2014.   Photos by Liu Xiao





No need to poop

China’s Christmas party



By Yao Yuan, Xie Ying and Cao Ting  



The jingling bells of China’s Christmas celebrations bring little cheer to some diehard proponents of traditional culture.

As young Chinese swarmed to shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants on Christmas Eve, some were “celebrating” Christmas by watching traditional cultural films — a college of the Northwest University in Shaanxi Province reportedly used this trick to keep its students from celebrating Christmas.

In the eastern city of Wenzhou, schools and kindergartens were banned from holding Christmas activities. A local official said schools should not obsess over Western festivals at the expense of Chinese ones.

There is a rising enthusiasm for traditional culture of late. Grand ceremonies were held across China this year to mark the anniversary of Confucius, parents have pushed their children to recite ancient Chinese classics and experts have called for the classics to be listed as a required course for students.

The debates over Christmas, however, reveal certain anxieties behind China’s cultural ambitions. Some critics associate Christmas with a public obsession for anything Western, while others lament the “shipwreck” of Chinese culture.

For Chinese Christmas fans, the logic is simple: Like Valentine’s Day, Christmas is just a merry time to shop, party and exchange gifts. Non-Christian Chinese associate Christmas more with the “Old Man of Christmas”, Santa Claus, than any Christian theology.

One reason for the growing popularity of Western festivals here, particularly among the young, is that they offer an excuse to be with friends and lovers, while traditional festivals are more family-centered, celebrated with family get-togethers and feasts.

There is no need to pit Western festivals against Chinese: Chinese Christmas revelers will still number among the hundreds of millions who travel home for the Lunar New Year family reunion.

That said, what Chinese festivals can learn from Christmas fever is how to build up their appeal. There are Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween movies but few such pop-culture biproducts exist for Chinese festivals, except for some festive foods.

Even the mooncake and other traditional sweets are evolving to suit low-calorie modern life, as will traditional festivals, but evolution lies in confidently facing up to cultural imports. Barring them from joining the game is no fun.








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