Christmas in Beijing

Grant Hayter-Menzies

in The Empress and Mrs. Conger

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083008
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207554 | DOI:
Christmas in Beijing

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This chapter narrates Sarah Conger's Christmas experience in Beijing. Christian foreigners in Beijing were by no means bereft of Christmas trappings, yet it was still a holiday they had to make for themselves. In a letter home about her holiday, Sarah wrote to her sister about Christmas in China and how strangely familiar it seemed. She also describes how Christmas trees were decorated with many styles of most intricately cut paper people, animals, birds, bats, and flowers in colors. Not many foreign observers would have understood how the bat, that creature associated in the West with abandoned houses and graveyards, would find itself on a Christmas tree. But Sarah, perhaps because she was never able to grasp the written language itself, was an eager student of what she called the “language” of Chinese symbols. With Sarah's understanding of this “language” came a sense that she needed to protect it.

Keywords: Sarah Conger; Christmas; Beijing; Christmas trees; Chinese symbols

Chapter.  3832 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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