Calls for boy­cott of Christ­mas in China rather miss the point

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - “ALL CHI­NESE PEO­PLE

should cher­ish our tra­di­tions and boy­cott for­eign fes­ti­vals!” On Christ­mas Day, groups of fe­male col­lege stu­dents wear­ing tra­di­tional clothes ap­peared at sev­eral tourist sites in Chengdu, South China’s Sichuan prov­ince, call­ing for peo­ple to boy­cott Christ­mas. Bei­jing News com­ments:

Ev­ery De­cem­ber, there are some peo­ple that call on oth­ers to boy­cott Christ­mas. They protest on the streets and some of the more rad­i­cal ones even dis­turb the nor­mal op­er­a­tions of shops. Th­ese peo­ple have one rea­son in com­mon for their ac­tions, they re­gard Christ­mas as a for­eign fes­ti­val and when Chi­nese cel­e­brate it that’s a kind of cul­tural invasion.

It seems th­ese peo­ple are rather ig­no­rant. They do not know that New Year is a for­eign fes­ti­val and they for­get the cal­en­dar we cur­rently use orig­i­nated in the West, too. That’s not a cul­tural invasion; in­stead, that’s cul­tural in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the East and the West.

From the other point of view, many for­eign­ers cel­e­brate Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year, too, and rarely do we see any­one call­ing for the cel­e­bra­tion to be boy­cotted.

Some peo­ple ar­gue that Christ­mas is a re­li­gious fes­ti­val. Not in China. What­ever oth­ers think, Chi­nese peo­ple make Christ­mas into a car­ni­val and cel­e­brate it by drink­ing, hold­ing par­ties, and gath­er­ing with friends. Sev­eral sur­veys show that a ma­jor­ity of peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas do not know what the fes­ti­val is about. All they want is an ex­cuse to re­lax and there is no need to boy­cott that.

More im­por­tantly, tra­di­tional Chi­nese fes­ti­vals are of­ten a bur­den for many adults. For ex­am­ple, in or­der to cel­e­brate Spring Fes­ti­val, many travel thou­sands of kilo­me­ters back to their home­towns. Many young peo­ple work­ing in me­trop­o­lises find they are even more tired af­ter such fes­ti­vals, but other oc­ca­sions such as Christ­mas al­low peo­ple to re­lax and have a good time.

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