Chinese Language Blog

Chinese Christmas Vocabulary Posted by on Dec 23, 2012 in Culture, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

"The Birth of a Saint Holiday"

The holiday season is upon us yet again, and while most people don’t associate China with Christmas, the holiday is becoming more and more popular in the Middle Kingdom. For the past month, the Christmas spirit has been alive and well here in Beijing – in subway stations, shopping centers, restaurants, and bars all across the city. Everywhere you go, the sounds of “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” follow you. Department stores are stocked and ready to help people “deck the halls”, with Christmas trees, stockings, tinsel, ornaments, and any other Christmas trinket you could imagine prominently on display. In malls all over town, there are Christmas sales drawing throngs of holiday shoppers. While many people here do not know or understand the history and traditions of this holiday, one thing is clear – they sure love the shopping that accompanies it. To help get you in the holiday spirit, here are some vocabulary words in Chinese that you’ll need to talk about Christmas:

  • Christmas Eve (圣诞夜 – shèng dàn yè)

  • Christmas (圣诞节 – shèng dàn jié – lit. “the birth of a saint holiday”)

  • Jesus (耶稣 – yē sū)

  • Santa Claus (圣诞老人 – shèng dàn lǎo rén –  lit. “Christmas old person”)

  • sleigh (雪橇 – xuě qiāo)

  • reindeer (麋鹿 – mí lù)

  • Christmas tree (圣诞树 – shèng dàn shù)

  • gift/present (礼物 – lǐ wù)

  • stocking (圣诞袜 – shèng dàn wà)

  • Christmas carols (圣诞歌 – shèng dàn gē)

  • caroling (报佳音 – bào jiā yīn)

  • Christian (基督教徒 – jī dū jiào tú)

  • midnight mass (午夜弥撒 – wǔ yè mí sā)

  • gingerbread house (姜饼屋 – jiāng bǐng wū)

  • candy cane (拐杖糖 – guǎi zhàng táng)

  • snowman (雪人 – xuě rén)

  • white Christmas (白色聖誕 – bái sè shèng dàn)

  • Christmas card (圣诞卡 – shèng dàn kǎ)

  • “The Grinch” (圣诞怪杰 – shèng dàn guài jié)

While you’re at it, you might as well practice singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in Chinese:

From all of us here at Transparent Chinese, we wish you a Merry Christmas (我们祝你圣诞快乐 – Wǒ men zhù nǐ shèng dàn kuài lè)!



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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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