Christmas beyond borders: Fujian winter celebrations

Still dreaming of a white Christmas? Look no further. Fujian province in China is just a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Manila via Philippine Airlines. 

It’s never too late to experience a white Christmas this year in the enchanting winter of Fujian, where temperatures range from eight to 15 degrees Celsius with the winter season extending from December to February.

Although December is not officially winter in Fujian, it marks the midway through the winter season, bringing colder weather and widespread snowfall.

According to records, the city of Wuyishan holds the title for the coldest city in Fujian in December, with temperatures dropping to lows of about 5 degrees Celsius.

Wuyishan boasts a row of scenic silver trees—a sight to behold. Tourists can enjoy hanging out by the trees, taking a stroll among these frozen wonders, and capturing souvenir photos of icy leaves formed by rime when moisture in fog freezes suddenly on objects.

Some locals choose to gather around a crackling stove, hold a cup of freshly brewed tea in their hands, and indulge in delightful chitchat with friends. Snow, tea, and friends come together to create the perfect winter day for them.

At Sunset Pier in subtropical Xiamen, where the weather is a bit warmer, a store creates artificial snow, attracting many young people who capture moments with the Christmas tree installed there.

Meanwhile, in Fuzhou, several bars and restaurants remain open during the Christmas season.

Fuzhou native Yu Siwei shared, “Some business districts set off the Christmas atmosphere early, creating scenes suitable for photos, preheating Christmas special menus, or promoting discount activities.”

While Christmas isn’t an official holiday in China, the Fuzhou native emphasized that the celebration begins after work for those with jobs. 

“The younger generation looks forward to Christmas, but not in a religious sense as most of us are not religious. We just see Christmas as an opportunity to hang out and have fun with friends, engaging in ordinary activities like shopping, enjoying delicious food, or having a post-dinner glass of wine,” Yu said. 

Although not a traditional celebration, younger people in China have adopted a unique way to mark the occasion—by giving apples to friends and loved ones. The Mandarin phrase for apple, “ping guo,” sounds similar to “safe and sound” in Chinese, symbolizing blessings for a safe and peaceful year ahead.