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文章作者:必发娱乐手机版 上传时间:2019-08-31

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图片 3外媒看中国:圣诞节流行送苹果

Christmas, long banned in China along with Christianity itself, is a fascinating Chinese contradiction: a booming business and ultra-popular holiday in the world’s leading Communist and officially non-religious state. The Christmas tradition is quite young there, but just like so many foreign customs that China has for centuries absorbed and made its own, the holiday has already developed its own Chinese characteristics. They are revealing, fascinating, and at points quite baffling – for an outsider。圣诞节和基督教在中国长期被禁止,“现已成为一个令人着迷的中国矛盾:圣诞节在中国已成为一个非常受欢迎的节日,相关的生意非常红火,但中国并不是一个宗教国家。圣诞节传统在中国还很年轻,但是与中国数百年来吸收和改造的许多外国风俗一样,中国的圣诞节也越来越具有中国特色。对于外来者来说,这些中国特色有时令人着迷,有时令人困惑。

Christmas Traditions, Past and Present

Anyone bemoaning the loss of the True Meaning of Christmas probably shouldn’t celebrate in China. Here, it’s mostly business as usual on the 25th. Vacation time won’t come until weeks later for China’s own winter holiday: Chinese New Year in mid-February。当圣诞节成为购物季,总有人惋惜圣诞节失去了真正的意义。12月25日是圣诞节,是购物季,但是在中国,明年2月中旬的农历新年才是中国人自己的节假日。

1. Christmas is treated more like Saint Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 人们对待圣诞节更像是在过圣帕特里克节或者情人节。


Santa exists primarily in malls, plus the occasional grocery store or cafe. Some members of the younger generation have started playing Secret Santa, while others have bought artificial trees for their homes and offices。在中国,圣诞节主要体现在购物中心、偶尔也能在超市和咖啡馆体会到圣诞节的气氛。中国一些年轻人已经开始玩起“秘密圣诞老人”的游戏,另一些人买来人造圣诞树,给家里和办公室增添一些圣诞氛围。

That is, it’s a lighthearted day for going out and being with friends, not for staying in with family, as we do in the West. Typical ways to celebrate include seeing a movie, going to a karaoke bar, or shopping. China Daily says Christmas Eve is the biggest shopping day of the year. Young couples often treat it as a romantic day. Ice skating and amusement parks are popular destinations。也就是说这是外出、和朋友们在一起的放松日,并不是像西方人那样和家人在一起。中国人过圣诞节的典型活动包括看电影、去卡拉OK吧或者购物。《中国日报》的报道称,圣诞前夕是年度销售额最大的日子。年轻的情侣们经常把圣诞节当作一个浪漫的日子过,滑冰场和游乐园是很受欢迎的目的地。

Americans may have made some changes in the way they celebrate Christmas over the years, but some important traditions--like friends and family--remain the same。 According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted among a representative sample of 2,001 adults nationwide, nine out of every 10 Americans celebrate Christmas。

There is, however, one Christmas tradition that’s distinctly Chinese: Apples。然而中国圣诞节竟有一项特别的“传统”--买苹果。

  2. Chinese Christians still face restrictions against a Western-style holiday. 中国式圣诞节的宗教色彩很淡。


The Chinese word for apple, pingguo, sounds a lot like the Chinese word for Christmas Eve, ping’an ye, and, as such, a tradition has formed. While Americans shell out wads of US dollars for high-tech presents like iPhones and Xboxes, Chinese friends simply exchange apples。汉语的苹果音同平安夜的平,就因为发音相同,传统就这么形成了。美国人在圣诞节这天要花大笔钱购置iPhone和Xbox等作为礼物,而中国人只需要互赠苹果就行了。

As huge numbers of urban Chinese celebrate a commercialized and religiously sterilized version of Christmas, the country’s 68 million Christians (about 5 percent of the population) have a tougher time. Religious practice is tightly regulated

However, only around half of those who celebrate view it as a religious holiday, while one-third see it as a cultural celebration, rather than one of faith。 Religion is far less central to young peoples’ observances of Christmas, the survey found, with only 39 percent of those aged 18-29 viewing it as a religious holiday, compared with 66 percent of those aged 65 and older。

I’m in an over-lit fruit market in Hangzhou. Christmas music—albeit in Mandarin—is playing over the store loudspeakers. Staffers are wearing green aprons and red Santa caps. This is the most Christmas spirit I’ve seen outside Starbucks。我现在在杭州一家灯火辉煌的水果市场,商店的喇叭里放着普通话唱的圣诞歌曲,员工们身着绿衣头戴红帽,这是我在星巴克之外,见到的对圣诞精神坚持地最好的地方了。

by the government, with acts such as caroling variously forbidden or allowed. It’s better than it used to be; informal “house churches” are officially forbidden but typically tolerated. When the government began allowing the more commercialized version of Christmas to prosper starting in the 1990s, it had the effect, deliberate or not, of overshadowing the Western-style version, reducing the holiday’s religious connotations. In a way, the more popular Christmas gets in China, the less Christian it becomes. 大量中国城市居民庆祝的是一个商业化、宗教色彩很淡的圣诞节,而中国680万的基督徒(占人口5%)的日子不怎么好过。中国政府对宗教活动进行严格控制,比如是否允许唱颂歌都是因地而异的。这已经比过去好很多了,虽是官方禁止的非正式“家庭教会”但通常都是被容忍的。从1990年代政府允许商业化的圣诞节开始兴旺,中国圣诞节就有意无意地遮蔽西方圣诞节,减少节日与宗教的联系。从某种程度而言,基督教在中国越是流行,它与基督教的联系也越不紧密。


It’s an odd time to grocery shop—Saturday night, just before closing—but the store is full. Santa-capped employees hand bags of fruit to a stream of customers。其实在周六晚上、商店即将关门的时候来逛商店还真是挺奇怪的,不过里面的人还是满满的。戴着圣诞老人帽子的工作人员向如织的顾客递上一袋袋的水果。

3. There is a “war on Christmas” in China. 民族主义者反对中国过圣诞节。

According to Christian theology, the Christmas holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whose teachings form the basis of the Christian faith。 Christians didn’t begin celebrating Christ’s birth until the third century A.D。, when Roman church officials settled on December 25 (the Bible doesn’t mention the exact date), probably to coincide with already existing pagan winter festivals。 Today, Christmas is not the most important Christian holiday–in fact, it ranks fourth after Easter, Pentecost and Epiphany。 Yet since the 19th century, when Americans began to celebrate Christmas in the way we think of today–including traditions such as decorating trees, sending holiday cards and giving gifts–it has grown into the biggest commercial holiday of the year and is now celebrated by the vast majority of Americans, Christian or not。

I walk past stacks of tiny, apple-sized boxes. Some boxes are clear, save for the outlines of cute cartoon bears with tiny plastic ears popping up on top. Some boxes proclaim “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!” in English on their sides. Some apples aren’t in boxes at all, but are rather all tied up in festive pink and purple cellophane。我走过成堆的苹果大小的小盒子,有的盒子上面什么都没有,是个可爱小熊的样子。有些盒子侧面用英文写着“圣诞快乐”和“新年快乐”。有些苹果干脆没有盒子,只是用粉色和紫色的玻璃纸包起来。

Some nationalist critics have accused the West of using the holiday as a tool of foreign imperialism. This is from Chinese journalist Helen Gao’s great article on Christmas’s evolution in China:一些民族主义者指责西方利用圣诞节作为外国帝国主义的工具。以下是一位中国记者所写的关于圣诞节在中国的发展的文章节选:


I opt for a more traditional Western package of red and green cardboard and I call over an employee for help. He’s dressed in head-to-toe Santa Claus garb, complete with black boots and a fake beard。我选了一个更有西方传统味道的红绿硬板纸包装苹果,叫来全身穿戴圣诞老人服装脚踏黑靴子戴着假胡子的工作人员帮我处理。

While some in America fight to resurface the holiday’s spiritual significance, Christmas-bashers in China warn against allowing Western culture to contaminate Chinese civilization. Shortly before Christmas in 2006, ten post-doctoral students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and other elite colleges penned an open letter asking Chinese people to boycott Christmas and resist the invasion of “western soft power。” They warned, “[Christmas celebrators in China] are doing what western missionaries dreamed to do but didn’t succeed in doing 100 years ago。” The letter added, “Chinese people need to treat Christmas cautiously, and support the dominance of our own culture。” 一些人在美国为复兴圣诞节的精神意义做抗争,而另一方面,中国反对圣诞节的人则警告不要让西方文化污染中华文明。北京大学[微博]、清华[微博]大学[微博]、和其它名校的10名博士后2006年圣诞节前夕曾发公开信,请求中国民众抵制圣诞节,抵抗外国软实力的入侵。他们警告称,“中国的圣诞节庆祝者是在做西方传教士100年前一直梦想但却没有成功的事情。”公开信中还提到,“中国人民需要小心对待圣诞节,支持自己文化的主导性。”

In an attempt to explore the changing nature of Christmas traditions, the Pew survey also asked its adult participants how they remember celebrating the holiday as children, compared to the way they celebrate it now。 A whopping 86 percent said they plan to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, and the same percentage say they plan to give gifts to friends and family。 Around nine in 10 adults (91 percent) said these activities were part of their holiday traditions when they were children。 According to the survey, eight out of every 10 Americans (79 percent) plan to put up a Christmas tree this year, compared with 92 percent who said they typically put up a Christmas tree when they were children。

“Merry Christmas!” I say, momentarily forgetting that this particular Kris Kringle might not understand me. 我对他说:“Merry Christmas!”,说这话的时候我忘了这在中国,对方虽然穿成这样,但有可能听不懂我在说什么。

4. Fancy,cellophane-wrapped ‘Christmas apples’ are a common gift. 用玻璃纸包装的“平安果”是常见礼物


When a friend once told me to bring apples to my first-ever Chinese dinner party, it seemed like a cheap offering until I saw the price: Nearly 70 RMB (over $10) for just a few of them. That’s not unbearably expensive, but the cost is comparable to produce we’d consider exotic in the US. 曾有个朋友告诉我,如果第一次去中国人家里做客,最好带点苹果,嗯,听上去好像很便宜,然而看了价钱才发现,几个苹果竟然要70元。虽然说贵得也还能接受,但是几乎赶上在美国买进口水果的价钱了。

This is because the word “apple” apparently sounds like “Christmas eve” in Mandarin. The apples might bear fancy wrapping and be printed with holiday messages, such as this apple bearing Santa Claus’s likeness and the words “Merry X-Mas。”这是因为苹果的普通话发音与“平安”有点像。苹果可以用各种有新意的方式进行包装,印上节日信息,例如这只苹果上可以印上圣诞老人头像或者“圣诞快乐”字样。

Other holiday traditions remembered from childhood didn’t fare as well, however。 While 81 percent of those surveyed said their families typically sent holiday cards during their childhoods, only 65 percent said they planned to do so this year。 Only 16 percent said they would go caroling (compared with 36 percent who said they caroled during their childhood)。

Meanwhile, in the fruit market in my neighborhood, a woman in a Santa cap is ringing me up at the cashier。在收银台,一位头戴圣诞老人帽子的女士为我结账。

5. Jesus who? It’s all about Santa (and his “sisters”). 耶稣是谁?圣诞节是圣诞老人和他“姐妹”的节日。


“Merry Christmas,” I say, once again forgetting about the language barrier. Then I realize I don’t even know how to say Christmas in Mandarin. Instead, I fall back on my old faithful phrase, one which I hope will evoke what I mean: A big smile and “Xiexie, zaijian。”我又说了一次“Merry Christmas”,又把语言隔阂这茬给忘了。这时我才想起,我连“Christmas”的汉语都不会说。所以我只好用老一套但是很管用的表达--笑容满面地说声:“谢谢,再见。”

Americans are familiar with the shopping mall practice of having young workers, typically women, dress up as Santa’s “helper elves。” In China, the fact that these costumed women are supposed to be elves is apparently lost in translation sometimes, with the women simply known as Santa’s friends or “sisters。” And Santas often travel in packs。美国人已很熟悉购物中心让年轻的工作人员尤其是女性打扮成圣诞老人的“精灵助手”的做法。在中国,本应被打扮成精灵的女性显然是迷失在翻译中,这些女性被称作圣诞老人的朋友或者“姐妹”。圣诞老人经常成堆出现。

The Pew survey found that religious and non-religious Americans are relatively similar in their celebrations of the Christmas holiday, and that both cultural and religious observers were just as likely to gather with family, exchange gifts and take part in another popular Christmas tradition–Santa Claus。 Among those adults surveyed who have a child who believes in Santa Claus, 69 percent said they plan to pretend that Santa visits their house on Christmas Eve this year。 Perhaps more surprisingly, 18 percent of parents whose children do not believe in Santa will still pretend to get a visit from the jolly bearded fellow this Christmas, and so will 22 percent of adults who are not parents or guardians of any children。


  6. In China, Santa Claus is often shown playing the saxophone. 在中国,圣诞老人经常演奏萨克管。


The holiday’s mascot is well-known, although for some reason he is portrayed, with startling frequency, as jamming out on a sax, Bill Clinton-style. Sometimes he is playing a trumpet or French horn. I have tried and failed to find the roots of this tradition. 作为圣诞节的吉祥物,圣诞老人是众所周知的。不过,他越来越多地以演奏萨克管的形象出现,有时候演奏的是喇叭或者是圆号。这个潮流不知起源于何故。


7. Chinese state media now brags that China makes American Christmas possible. 中国官方媒体称,中国使美国人过圣诞节成为可能。

That’s right: not so long after the Chinese government persecuted

Christians, sometimes violently, its largest media outlet is boasting that Christmas would not be possible without China. The state-run People’s Daily on Monday announces, “American fellows, it is Christmas time, a time to wake up, have a strong cup of coffee, and see what gifts a Chinese Santa Claus really delivers。” The article argues that the West could not celebrate Christmas without China’s exports and that we should spend the holiday expressing gratitude for Chinese manufacturing. The article concludes, “This Christmas morning, when you wake up and smell this couple of coffee, accept your gifts with gratitude。” 这是真的,《人民日报》周一写道:“美国人,这是圣诞时间,是醒来的时候了,喝上一杯咖啡,看看中国圣诞老人给你们带来了什么礼物。”这篇文章称,如果没有中国的出口商品,西方将无法庆祝圣诞节,西方人应当在过圣诞节时向中国制造业表示感谢。文章称:“在这个圣诞节早上,当你醒来时,闻到咖啡的香味,请心怀感谢地接受你的礼物。”

  8. A 19th century Chinese Christian leader claimed to be Jesus’s brother, then started a civil war. 19世纪一个中国基督徒领袖声称是耶稣的兄弟,引发了内战

A man named Hong Xiuquan, born in 1814 as missionaries were spreading Christianity in China, had visions that led him to believe that he was the second son of God, who had commanded him to ride China of sacrilegious practices. Hong formed a movement called the Heavenly Kingdom, which rose up and came to control vast swathes of southern China. The civil war of 1850 to 1864, also known as the Taiping Rebellion, ultimately killed perhaps 20 million people, or approximately as many people as World War One. I don’t want to suggest that this justifies China’s treatment of Christians today, but perhaps it can give you a sense for why the religion can make the government so skittish.1814年出生的传教士洪秀全在中国传播基督教,他相信自己是上帝的第二个儿子,而上帝让他帮助中国摆脱亵渎神灵的行为。洪秀全发起了太平天国运动,控制了中国南部大部分地区。这场从1850年持续到1864年的内战被称为太平天国起义,最终大约200万人死亡,相当于第一次世界大战的死亡人数。提到这件事并不是要为中国现在对基督教的政策做辩护,而是从这个例子可以看出为什么政府对于基督教会如此忌惮。



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