Celebrating Christmas in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China

Christmas is different in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

In Taiwan, there is a large effort on the part of retailers to make Christmas the powerhouse holiday that we see here in the United States. I remember going to stores with tall, metallic pink Christmas trees and shopping for a few gifts. The kids looked forward to the gifts and it was fun singing Christmas songs, but it just did not have the feeling of a holiday. As I posted previous, Chinese New Year is more fun to celebrate when you are living in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese celebrate Constitution Day on December 25th that was an official holiday with time off. Locals suspect that Constitution Day was placed on Christmas because the leaders of the KMT wanted to celebrate Christmas. I remember taking the day off and calling my family in 1999. In 2000 they changed the holidays and Constitution Day (and thus Christmas) became a workday. The children do know who Santa Claus is and look forward to the presents.

In Hong Kong, Christmas is a major holiday. It is a secular rather than religious event. Victoria Harbor is decorated with lights and many of the shops near the harbor add to the lights. They also play Christmas music on loudspeakers. There are events on Lantau Island and Christmas Carolers. It sounds like an event worth attending!

In China, people celebrate Christmas with shopping sprees and eat a stuffed duck (the Chinese version of stuffed turkey?). Some people go ice skating or skiing. Christians celebrate quietly in their homes. In recent times, stores have started decorating and encouraging people to buy presents. If you plan on visiting China during December, here’s a great website on December weather in various parts of China.

At noon today, we’re posting a guide on saying Merry Christmas. Come back and check it out!

2013 – Change is Coming!

So We Made a Few Mistakes

Like many business owners, we made a few mistakes when we started the language center. We didn’t predict what success would look like and we were just excited to get started. It has been an enormous blessing in our life. We have gotten to know so many people and made a lot of friends. So we scheduled classes 52 weeks a year, which is not realistic. We’ve even had students consider taking a break because they don’t want to study 52 weeks a year. So we’re going to make some changes.


We Are Scheduling Classes Differently

Starting in October of 2012, we started scheduling classes 3  months at a time with 12 classes over those three months. We’re goign to break the year up into 4 courses that last three months each. We might even call the courses Chinese 101, 102 and so on. If people want to take a break, they can restart classes at the same level they left off. We are working on publishing a list of classes for each course and hope to have that in place for Chinese New Year. This also means that every few months, on what would have been the 5th meeting of a month, that class does not meet.

Starting in January of 2013, we’re going to do this with all of our classes. This means that if there would have been a 5th week of any given month, there will be no class that night.


What We’ll do With the Extra Time

First, we’re going to catch up on some sleep so that we can continue to provide you with fun and interesting classes long into the future.

Second, we will use this time to offer makeup classes or schedule classes that are canceled for a holiday. For example, next month, we will not have class on January 1st. We will have class on January 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.

Third, we will use this time to develop curriculum for the website. This will help everyone at the language center improve their language skills.


What do you think? Comment below!

Chinese New Year’s Eve is February 9th

Christmas is not a big holiday in Taiwan. Retailers are trying and there is some activity, but most people have to work on Christmas.

As you may know, Chinese New Year is a different story. It is the single biggest holiday in China. I grew up in the US and Christmas is my favorite holiday, but in some ways Chinese New Year is better than Christmas.

  • It is a family holiday. People take off work and travel across the country or even around the world to spend time with their family.
  • Everything closes… for a week. There is frantic shopping to be sure you have enough food. Most restaurants close for the holiday.
  • It’s all about the food and time with your family. You get to relax and enjoy time with your family. Best of all it is all about eating dumplings. Lots of dumplings.
  • There is no Chinese New Year Shopping. Now that I like! You give red envelopes with cash and wish everyone a prosperous new year. You do need to stop by the bank to get some new cash. Wrinkled bills are not a good present.
  • There are fireworks! At the end, shopkeepers set off fireworks to scare off any ghosts. This made my first Chinese New Year an adventure. I’ll tell that story at the dinner below.

Save the Date: Celebrate Chinese New Year with Us on February 9th

We’re excited to invite you to celebrate Chinese New Year with us.

Please invite your family and friends!

We’re going to be at the Imperial Chinese Restaurant on South Broadway in Denver.

  • Date: Saturday February 9th
  • Time: 6pm to 9pm
  • Cost: To be determined