A Comparison of the Chinese New Year Spring Festival and the Western Festival of Christmas Jane Coates 2013 How is the Spring Festival celebrated? • • • • • • • • When? What special food is prepared and eaten? What preparations are made at home? Are any special visits made? Are gifts or cards given? Are any special games played? How long do the celebrations last for? What special arrangements are made for the children? How is the Western Festival of Christmas celebrated? • Christmas occurs on a fixed date-December 25th. • It is both a religious festival and also a very commercialized festival now. • It is a time for the family to meet together. • Special foods are prepared and eaten. • The family exchange gifts and cards. • It is a very exciting time for children in particular. • The house is decorated with lights, a Christmas tree and many decorations. • Families travel a long way in order to be together. The birth of Christ over 2000 years ago The Christmas story • The word ‘Christmas’ means ‘Christ’s Mass’. • The Mass is a very old Christian Church service at which people choose to pray and to praise God. • Christians believe that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago and that He was the Son of God. • The story of His birth explains many of the things that we see and do at Christmas time. • But today-many people just enjoy the traditions of Christmas. The Advent Calendar An Advent Calendar • Advent begins 4 weeks before Christmas. • It is a time of excitement and getting readyespecially for children. • An advent calendar has 24 numbered doorsone for each day. Behind each door will be a picture, a sweet or a chocolate. • One door is opened each day. • The last door is opened on Christmas Eve. Decorating the home The Christmas Tree and decorations Decorating the home • It is a tradition to bring evergreen trees and leaves inside the home. • A Christmas tree is very popular-but now many plastic trees are used! • Holly, Ivy and mistletoe are common plants to bring into the home. Holly is a symbol of good luck. Mistletoe is a symbol of peace and friendship. Holly Ivy and Mistletoe The Holly wreath and candles Christmas Candles • In the old days fires were lit to celebrate the Sun. • At Christmas we light candles to celebrate the Son-as Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. • Candles are also a lovely way to decorate the home in the winter. Sending Christmas cards Christmas cards • Many people wrote letters at this time-but then these began to be replaced by cards. • Robins, Santas and winter pictures are very common on the cards. • It is a good way to send news to family and friends. Hanging up the Christmas Stocking Christmas stockings • Christmas stockings are hung up over the fire, at the front of the room or at the end of the children’s beds. • Small gifts, toys and sweets are place in them on Christmas eve-the night before Christmas day. • Children also hang up a large Christmas sack in the hope that Santa will bring toys and presents for them. Building a snowman Buying gifts for the family The Christmas star and Christmas presents • It is common to put a star at the top of the Christmas tree and to use stars to decorate the home. • In the Christmas story the wise men from the East followed a star in the sky to find the baby Jesus. • The wise men gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. So now it is a tradition to give gifts at Christmas. Christmas Stars A time for all of the family Special food The Christmas dinner • The most common meat eaten on Christmas Day is turkey. • The turkey is a South American bird-larger than a chicken. • Duck is also very popular at Christmas. • We eat lots of roasted vegetables. • Christmas is a time for eating! Christmas pudding and cake The Christmas pudding • This is a very rich fruit pudding. • It is a tradition that every member of the family should help to make the pudding , stir it together and make a wish! • Sometimes small coins are added to the mixture. • When it is very hot and placed on the table alcohol is poured on the top and lit with a match to create flames! • A cake is also a rich fruit cake. It is decorated with Santas and winter scenes. Mince pies • These are not made with meat but with lots of dried fruit, spices, sugar and chopped peel from the fruit. • They are very sweet and can be eaten hot or cold. • Christmas cake and mince pies are eaten throughout the Christmas period. Christmas Crackers Christmas Crackers • The first cracker was made in 1840. It was made of paper with nuts, sweets and a love message inside. When it was pulled open the cracker went ‘snap’. • Today crackers contain a party hat, a joke and some small prizes or sweets. • They will be placed on the table on Christmas day for the family meal. Children love Christmas Father Christmas or Santa Claus Santa Claus • All over the world traditional gift bringers visit children at Christmas. • Santa Claus is the best known one of these. • His name comes from Saint Nicholas, a Dutch man. He was a rich man who used his wealth and money to help others. He was famous for his generosity and his name is always linked with Christmas. • It was the Americans who gave Santa Claus a sleigh and a team of reindeer. Christians will go to church Christmas Carols and songs • Many people will visit the Church at this time. • The carols and songs are about the birth of Jesus. • It is common for the church to be lit by candle light only. • Families will remember the Christmas story and sing songs about it. Pantomimes Pantomimes • The word pantomime means ’all mime’. • They have become part of the Christmas tradition. • Early pantomimes were acted entirely through acting, dancing and mime. • Now they tell famous stories -mainly children’s stories- and they are done with words, songs, dance and lots and lots of fun! They are for the whole family-but mainly for the children. Boxing Day • Boxing Day is the day after Christmas day-the 26th December. • The name goes back to a time when boxes were placed at the back of the church in order to collect money for poor people. The boxes were opened on the 26th and the money given to the poor. • Today this day is used for sports activities. Horse racing, hunting and football will take place on this day. The Differences-Spring Festival • The date is different-February. • Families visit the family tomb. • Salt pork, sausage and fish are commonly eaten. • There are fireworks and lots of noise. • Red lanterns are hung. • Lantern day is the last day of the celebrations. • Dragons and lions The differences-Christmas • • • • • December 25th- a fixed date every year. People go to church. Chicken, duck and turkey are eaten. There are lots of special foods. Children expect a visit from Santa or Father Christmas -with gifts. • Homes are decorated with a tree. What is the same? • • • • • • • • • They are the most important festivals of the year. There are lots of preparations to be made. The family meets together-it is a very happy time. There are many family meals with special food. The house is cleaned and decorated with special things. Houses are decorated-banners, lanterns, paper cuts, Christmas decorations. Visits are made to relatives, family and friends. Presents are given-the red envelopes/Christmas gifts. There is singing, dancing and family games. What is the same? • • • • Cards are given. There is a long holiday for everyone. The weather is cold. Factories and shops are very busy producing goods and food. • The festivals are now very commercialized-lots of money is made by businesses, shop keepers and factories. • The cost of transport and taxis rises.