Stepping off of a 15.5 hour flight from New York City to Guangzhou, China on China Southern Airlines, the last thing I expected to hear was Nat King Cole announcing that "Christmas bells are ringing." But that song playing in the Vanburgh Hotel lobby was indeed my first welcome to China! Though only 5% of the country’s 1.4 billion people are practicing Christians, there are many signs of Christmas in China's major cities.
While December 25 is not an official holiday on mainland China, the Pearl River Delta's autonmous regions Macau and Hong Kong officially recognize Christmas with a day off, since Macau used to be a Portuguese colony and Hong Kong was colonized by the British. Only children receive gifts on Christmas throughout China, but people of all ages celebrate all season long.
From elevators and shopping malls to city landmarks and major attractions, everywhere you turn there’s a Christmas tree or nativity scene, a Santa Claus and classic American holiday music wishing you a Merry Christmas.
Here are some beautiful Christmas decorations from Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Macau and Hong Kong. --Brooke Obie