Christmas becomes big holiday in China

Dec. 24, 2005 at 10:35 AM
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BEIJING, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Christmas has become one of China's major holidays, ranking second only to the big Spring Festival for many Chinese.

Xinhua, the official government news agency, said that a poll of 2,000 people found that 90 percent have special plans for the night.

For many, the holiday is a night of revelry or romance, not a religious one. Its icons are Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and it is celebrated in karaoke bars and restaurants.

"Christmas is a season for partying, shopping and even romance. It's a reward for our one year of hard work," Zhang Yapeng, a computer software salesman, told Xinhua as he visited bars in Beijing on Friday to find the best one to celebrate Christmas Eve with a party of friends.

Stores also planned to stay open late Christmas Eve for last-minute gift buyers.

For China's Christian minority, the holiday is a religious one. Xinhua said large crowds are expected for Christmas Eve services.

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