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.
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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs