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Christmas Eve in China

Christmas is not a Chinese holiday. Duh!

But why are the Chinese so crazy about it? Well, even the Chinese themselves do not know the exact answer. Perhaps the “politically correct” answer is: who doesn’t want an excuse to have some fun? Plus, there are discounts in the shopping malls. Yippee!

Weibo user @简白 shared his photos taken at Xiangyang, Hubei province on Christmas Eve. Photo: blog.sina.com.cn

Crazy fact No.1: Apples for Christmas?

The popular gift the Chinese give to each other during Christmas- Well, you are never going to guess it- is apples, which the Chinese give a very auspicious name: ping’an guo, literally “safe and sound fruit”.

Various "Christmas apples" you may find in China. Note the top left one which is sold at 188 yuan. Photo: Weibo.com

The Chinese have long treated apples (ping guo in Mandarin, ping is written as a different character but has the same pronunciation as the word safe) as a lucky symbol which is supposed to help you stay safe. In the past, the brides used to carry an apple in their hand on their way to get married in their grooms' house. Since Christmas Eve is called “ping’an ye” in Mandarin, literally, “safe and sound night”, the Chinese naturally associated these two together.

But the Christmas “ping’an guo” are special because they have patterns on them which are painstakingly made by sticking paper-cuts of the patterns onto the growing apples and turning them to face the sun so that the patterns could be etched on by the sunlight.

Wrapped up in fancy boxes, these “ping’an guo” could be sold at a jaw-dropping 188 yuan (roughly $30) according to Sichuan TV’s official Weibo (@四川广播电视台). Some quipped: if you have 60 such apples, you can exchange them for an iPhone5!


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