A Chinese university has banned its students from partaking in any Christmas festivities, despite the festival growing in stature in the country, urging them to “resist the expansion of Western culture”.
State media reported that the Modern College of Northwest University, in the city of Xian, forced students to watch pro-Communist propaganda films and warned that any who marked the Christian festival would be punished.
Posters around campus urged them to “strive to be outstanding sons and daughters of China, oppose kitsch Western holidays”.
An official microblog of one of the university’s Communist Party committees displayed messages telling students not to “fawn on foreigners”.
It also stated: “In recent years, more and more Chinese have started to attach importance to Western festivals.
“In their eyes, the West is more developed than China, and they think that their holidays are more elegant than ours, even that Western festivals are very fashionable and China’s traditional festivals are old fashioned.”
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
How Christmas is celebrated around the world
In Japan, people book into KFC restaurants or pre-order their KFC Christmas dinners months in advance f the 25th December, to make sure they can eat their traditional fried chicken. The specific eating of KFC on Christmas day was started by an advertising campaign run by the fast-food chain in 1974, and worked so well that it has passed into lore
In Catalonia a small log, with a red hat, is looked after by children. The Tio de Nadal, or poo log, is kept warm under a blanket and 'fed' Turron every evening from 8 December to ensure he eventually poos out lots of treats on Christmas Eve.
Another Catalonian tradition is the the Caganer, a small figure sometimes modeled on public figures, who is always shown crouching with his pants around his ankles while he defecates on the floor. The figurine is placed among nativity scenes, and his faeces is seen as a sign of good luck as it fertilizes the earth, helping to bring a good harvest the next year
AFP PHOTO/LLUIS GENE
Children in Germany put out their shoes to be filled with sweets, not stockings, and they do this much earlier in the month, on 5 December. If they have been bad, their shoe will contain branches with their presents - which is supposed to represent a hiding
Norwegian tradition dictates that witches and evil spirits arise on Christmas Eve, steal peoples' broomsticks and fly through the air. This is why people hide their broomsticks the day before Christmas - and any other similar items - to prevent this
Canada's postal service dedicates time every year to responding to children's letters to Santa, and has a special postal code - H0H 0H0 - where letters can be addressed to. More than 15 million letters are thought to have been responded to in the past 27 years, and they now respond to emails, too
7/10 South Africa
To keep kids from being too greedy around Christmas, South Africa has the legend of Danny, a little boy who was brutally murdered by his grandmother because he ate Santa's cookies.
In some Austrian alpine towns, young men dress up as the terrifying Krampus - the storied anti-Saint Nick who beats naughty children with tree branches.
The old Estonian tradition of a family sauna at Christmas (and New Years) endures. It's normally done just before a Christmas eve church service.
At Christmas time Guatemalans sweep their homes, collect the dust and place it at the foot of a neighbourhood effigy of the devil.
AFP / Getty
“There’s nothing we can do about it, we can’t escape,” one student was quoted as saying, talking about the three-hour propaganda video session that included a film about Confucius. Attendees said that teachers stood guard to prevent them leaving.
The communist group was right about the rise of Christmas’s popularity in China – 2014 has marked the festival’s biggest year yet in the country. China’s young, moneyed middle class has adopted Western-derived gift-giving traditions with vigour, with city shopping malls decked with decorations and carols.
Meanwhile, in high-end hotels in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Christmas light turning-on ceremonies are marketed as the most important events of the establishments’ years, marked by lavish media parties with roast turkey, cakes and wine.
Although the adoption of Christmas might seem to be at odds with the central government communist party’s atheist values, which it has made loud noises about promoting this year, festive focus in China tends to be on commercial rather than religious aspects of the day.
Still, China’s regular clampdown on Christianity has reared its head. In the eastern city of Wenzhou a Christian congregation saw a makeshift cross it erected, to replace one that was removed by authorities in October, torn down within an hour.Reuse content