Christmas Eve for the West is similar to the New Year’s Eve of Chinese lunar new year for the Chinese, a time for family reunion. This western religious festival is getting its popularity in China, especially in the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc.
There are various reasons behind the increasing popularity of Christmas in China. The Christians and Catholics are increasing in numbers; young people seek Christmas as the time to boost their romance; smart merchants grab Christmas to promote theirs sales or images; foreign business related companies follow suit.
If you happen to spend your Christmas eve in Beijing during your Beijing winter tour, you may take some adventure going on to the streets to explore and spend a local Christmas eve.
So how will local Beijingers celebrate Christmas eve? What are things to do during Christmas eve in Beijing? Unlike the west countries where Christmas is a time for family get-together, here in Beijing it is a time for making fun and making money.
I once drove around the busy areas in Beijing for feeling the atmosphere of Christmas eve. Here’s my run down of the interesting spots for Christmas eve.
Christmas Eve gala party
Many hotels, mainly 4 or 5 star hotels would hold Christmas eve gala parties in recent years. A routine Christmas eve gala party would include three elements – a big dinner, high-level performances and several rounds of exciting lucky draws.
Christmas eve party is also a channel for networking or “Guanxi” in Chinese, enhancing working relationship and friendship. Below are the two pictures taken from internet.
Performance at a Christmas eve party
Go to Church
There are 11 churches in Beijing, 6 Catholic churches, 5 Christian churches. My favorite is Eastern Church. Located east of central Wangfujing Street, the Catholic East Church, or Wangfujing Catholic Church, is one of the 11 best-preserved churches.
Check out Catholic Mass Times Beijing for more information.
The East Church was originally called Saint Joseph’s Church, and was built in the 12th year (1655) of Emperor Shunzhi during the Qing Dynast y (1644-1911). It was the second Catholic church built in Beijing after Italian preacher Matteo Ricci built the “South Church” in southern Beijing at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The present building was rebuilt in 1904 on the ruins of the burned church. In the 1980s, large-scale repairs and maintenance were carried out by the government for East Church.
Opening Time: every morning (times may vary)
Add: 74, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Bus Lines: Take bus 103, 102, 104, 803, 814, 808 and get off at Donganmen Shichang, then walk north approx. 300 meters.
Mass Times: Weekdays 06:30 and 07:00 (Chinese), Saturday 06:30 and 07:00 (Chinese), Sunday 06:15 (Latin), 07:00 and 08:00 (Chinese)
A huge crowd of fun-seekers would gather the church, taking pictures and sensing the ambience of Christmas eve. A great number of police were on high alert for a safe Christmas eve.
Police will be on high alert for a safe Christmas eve.
Late Night Shopping
On Christmas eve, almost all the stores and shopping malls in Beijing will not miss this golden opportunity for sales promotion. Business hours last till small hours, even to early next morning with big discounts.
Wangfujing Walking Street will see “people mountain and people sea” .
Beijing Department Store says it is open till 6am. There is something festive inside the department store.
Pubs and Bars
There are several clusters of pubs and bars around Beijing city center. My favorite is Shichahai bar area ( often known as Houhai Bar streets), walking from Lotus Market, to Yinding Bridge ( Ingot Bridge ) and finishing at Yandaixiejie.
This trail teems with bars and small boutiques. There is a strong festivity in the Shichahai area.
Listening to the music from inside. Having a glimpse of the music band inside a bar.
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Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
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How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.