Time for cheers and tears

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT - Via e-mail Read­ers’ com­ments are wel­come. Please send your e-mail to opin­ion@chi­nadaily.com.cn or let­ters@chi­nadaily.com.cn or to the in­di­vid­ual colum­nists. China Daily re­serves the right to edit all let­ters. Thank you.

Be­ing a Cana­dian liv­ing in China for more than 10 years, I feel for­tu­nate to share the joys ofWestern and Chi­nese fes­ti­vals withmy Chi­nese wife, friends and stu­dents.

With Christ­mas here and the NewYear round the cor­ner, I like to walk the streets of Chi­nese ci­ties to ob­serve the moods of the peo­ple and share their cheers and tears. I have no­ticed a tremen­dous change in Chi­nese peo­ple’s at­ti­tude to­ward Western fes­ti­vals, es­pe­cially Christ­mas and New Year. It is not un­com­mon nowa­days to see Chi­nese peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing with for­eign­ers, some of them neigh­bors, oth­ers friends.

Shop­ping malls and depart­ment stores rise to the oc­ca­sion and dec­o­rate their stores with Christ­mas trees com­plete with the cus­tom­ary hang­ings, and bunt­ings and fes­toons. Pub­lic places, such as parks and squares, too get a fes­tive look. And Chi­nese peo­ple rush to the stores of­fer­ing sea­son dis­counts and sales.

Ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions grant for­eign teach­ers and staff days off to cel­e­brate the fes­ti­vals, and some even or­ga­nize par­ties so that their stu­dents can en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties.

When I was liv­ing in Canada, peo­ple put a great deal of em­pha­sis on the cel­e­bra­tion of Christ­mas and NewYear. Con­se­quently, I started shar­ing their en­thu­si­asm. No mat­ter where I went, I couldn’t es­cape the spirit of the hol­i­days, although I’ve al­ways pre­ferred to cel­e­brate fes­ti­vals withmy fam­ily.

Dur­ingmy stay in China, I or­ga­nized spe­cial classes to tellmy stu­dents about how peo­ple in theWest cel­e­brate fes­ti­vals. I have also en­cour­aged them to ex­change gifts as a to­ken of af­fec­tion to­ward each other and or­ga­nized par­ties in the school to en­joy the oc­ca­sion with col­leagues and stu­dents.

Here’s wish­ing every­body, ir­re­spec­tive of re­li­gious be­liefs, a merry Christ­mas and a happy and pros­per­ous NewYear. I hope 2015 brings suc­cess and joy, and keeps you hail and hearty.

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