News / Asia

Christmas is Big Business for Chinese Village

Christmas is Big Business for Xitan, China's 'Christmas Village'i
X
December 20, 2013 3:33 PM
In China’s “Christmas Village,” there are many signs of the annual holiday, but this year -- no public celebrations. VOA’s Bill Ide visited the place where Christmas ornaments remain big business, even though the holiday itself has been a source of controversy.
William Ide
In Xitan, China’s “Christmas Village,” it’s easy to see that holiday trinkets are big business. However, this Christmas, unlike in past years, there are no public celebrations or Christmas lights lining the streets.
 
Xitan is nestled in the mountains of the eastern province of Zhejiang, just downstream from a large reservoir. The weather is cool this time of year, but there is definitely no snow and it’s nothing like Santa’s frigid North Pole workshop.
 
Even so, Xitan shipped about $100 million in ornaments and decorations to places as far away as Europe, the United States and Brazil.
 
Wang Lianming is the head of one of Xitan's earliest Christmas decoration companies, Ruian D-Bright Arts and Crafts, and the village party chief.
 
Wang said that while the overseas market is still the main focus of D-Bright's business, interest in the holiday is growing in China as well.
 
"In the past, Christmas was just a holiday celebrated overseas, few here in China knew much about it," he said. "But in recent years, celebration of the holiday in China has been catching on, as has the sale of ornaments and trinkets."
 
Before D-Bright started handcrafting Christmas ornaments, it made disco balls, and still does. Like many other factories here, the company is branching out to make trinkets for other Western holidays as well, even Halloween and masks for Brazil's Carnival.
 
Xitan is home to about 3,000 people. The narrow streets and surrounding hills make up a network of some 40 larger factories and around 200 smaller workshops.
 
At one warehouse just outside of the village, a man surnamed Peng is dipping rows of ornament tops in a soupy, noxious-smelling paint. Peng is not from Xitan, but brought his family here to work.
 
Peng said that while there are too many factories here and the environment is not as nice as his hometown in Hunan, the work puts food on the table.
 
"I will go wherever the work is, as long as I can make some money that is all that matters," said Peng.
 
Xitan has a large number Christian population, but some say it is the village's knack for handicrafts, not religion, that has made the making of ornaments such a staple industry here.
 
One factory owner, Wang Songjiang, said he knows little about the meaning behind the decorations or the holiday.
 
"Christmas is a holiday for foreigners, we don't really know what it is all about. It's enough for us to know that these ornaments are for the celebration of Christmas, and that we can do business and earn money," said Wang.
 
However, for some in Xitan, Christmas is a time of religious celebration. At times, that has given rise to controversy. Two years ago, when the village was hosting a celebration of the town's Christmas industry, some say local Christians turned the activity into a religious affair. Local Christians say authorities "pulled the plug" on an approved event.
 
Village party chief Wang Lianming said the event was canceled because it was felt that a religious tone was inappropriate for the ceremony. "We stopped holding the celebration because of religious issues and the religious tone some wanted to give to the event. It is not right to take a cultural event and turn it into a religious event," said Wang.
 
Wang said the event was meant to be more a celebration of how Xitan has made a name for itself, and its ability to create and find business opportunities, than a celebration of the holiday itself.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
December 23, 2013 9:27 AM
Chinese always are not conscious of what they do is God's mission.With160 million people are Christians,China absolutely is the bigest Christian country in the world.Most of bibles(or handcrafting Christmas ornaments) in the world were produced in China,then sold to every corner of the world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid