The Nanfang / Blog

Chongqing Hosts Massive Han-style Wedding

Posted: 12/30/2014 10:00 am

While many Chinese have taken up some of the more popular western holidays, such as Christmas, a number of Chinese universities have chosen to actively boycott them, instead choosing to focus on traditional Chinese holidays. The education bureau in Wenzhou went so far as to ban all Christmas activities in local schools.

The most recent recruit on the anti-Western holiday bandwagon is the southwestern city of Chongqing. According to a report by the state news portal China News, rather than host a Christmas celebration, a popular ski resort on Xiannv Mountain in Chongqing’s Wulong County, decided to host a massive wedding ceremony for 99 couples dressed head to toe in traditional Han Dynasty garb.

According to photos in the news report, several foreign couples participated in the event. The report also noted that due to the massive scale of the wedding, it is currently in the running for a Guinness World Record.

Here are some photos of the wedding extravaganza:



How to Celebrate Christmas in China: Crowds, Dating, Eating Eggs and Apples

Posted: 12/25/2014 4:22 pm
xmas yuzhou henan ski promotion

A recent ski promotion in Yuzhou, Henan.

When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Chinese do it in their own unique way. Celebrating the holiday has slowly caught on in China over the past decade, but it doesn’t resemble the traditions the west would recognize. Family gatherings and big meals are reserved for Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, while Christmas is taking up the spot associated with revelry, parties, and romance.

christmas shenzhen

Celebrating Christmas Eve in Shenzhen with “falling snow”.

Gone are the familiar sights of the nativity scene, turkey and stuffing, egg nog, goofy seasonal sweaters, or mistletoe. In China, there are no cultural references of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, A Miracle on 34th StreetRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman.

Instead, Chinese use Christmas Even as a chance to go out and have dinner with their friends, converge in public places, and find the “meaning of Christmas” (with Chinese characteristics, of course). For example, this boisterous party in Wuhan, Hubei:

xmas wuhan hubei crowd

In Kunming, Yunnan, the crowd got a little rowdy when people began to spray each other with fake snow:

xmas kunming yunnan crowdxmas kunming yunnan crowd

As they did in Guiyang, Guizhou:

xmas guiyang guizhou crowdBut the crowd to beat all others was in Chongqing:

And then there’s the social aspect of celebrating Christmas in China. Many Chinese find themselves under pressure to find a date for this social occasion. Christmas Eve is a dreadful occasion for Chinese that are single, many of whom who took to Weibo to commiserate.

Besides large crowds and hanging out with friends, Chinese have been finding their own new ways to celebrate the holiday. Since the Chinese word for “Christmas” contains a homophone for eggs, competitive eater Pan Yizhong decided to eat 160 eggs because it ”seemed like an appropriate time to eat eggs.” Pan took 40 minutes to quaff down 150 quail eggs and ten chicken eggs (below).

christmas eggsEggs aren’t the only food associated with Christmas. Apple also shares a homophone with the word “peace”, and Christmas Eve is known in Chinese as the “Night of Peace”. That means apples have become a popular gift at Christmas, complete with higher prices.

Meanwhile, Santa is generally well-known in China but there might be some confusion about his defining physical trait. A Weibo contest with the hashtag #FakeChristmasBeardContest encouraged people to send in photos of themselves wearing Santa’s trademark white woolly beard. It started off like this:

xmas santa beard contestThen morphed into this:

xmas santa beard contestxmas santa beard contest

In whichever form, Christmas still has its detractors in China. In Xi’an, a university disallowed its students to take part in any festivities on Christmas Eve, instead forcing them to watch propaganda films. Over in Changsha, Hunan, university students wearing traditional Chinese clothing carried signs denouncing Christmas at a holiday event (below).

xmas changsha protest xmas changsha protest With all of these differences, Chinese culture may have lost out on the references that make Christmas what it is in the west. However, it’s difficult to learn more about Christmas in China without its characterization as a rowdy holiday getting in the way.

The Shenyang Liaoning Evening Post sent out this Weibo post that purported to list 200 appropriate songs for Christmas Eve. However, anyone opening the file is instead confronted with these words:

Do you honestly plan to spend this night listening to songs?

Photos: 8099999 (2), Jingshi Live, Guizhou UniversityTianjin Culinary Picks, Weibo (1, 2, 3, 4), QQ Newsxywy, telegraph


Shenzhen Metro to Extend Holiday Service for Christmas, New Year’s

Posted: 12/24/2014 9:36 am
santa subway hangzhou

Santa passes out treats on the Hangzhou Metro in 2012.

The Christmas holidays may not be official in China, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating all night long this year, as the Shenzhen Metro will be extending service hours for Christmas and New Year’s.

All five lines of the Shenzhen Metro will provide 24 hour service on December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 31 (New Year’s Eve), and January 1, 2015 (New Year’s Day).

If you’re concerned about going home by subway using limited service, they’ve confirmed complete service after midnight for New Year’s Eve revelers on two lines. On January 1 at 12:15 and 12:25am, Line 1 will run two trains the entire line from Luohu Station to Airport East Station. Line 2 will run the same schedule from Xinxiu Station to Chiwan Station.

For those who don’t turn into a proverbial pumpkin at midnight, there’s still other trains. All the same, we wish everyone a happy holidays, and to get home safe.

Photo: hangzhou


Nearly 160,000 People Pass into Hong Kong at Shenzhen Bay, A New Record

Posted: 12/23/2014 5:06 am

border crossing shenzhen bayIf you got stuck in the crowd this past weekend crossing into Hong Kong, your misery helped make history.

A record-high 157,600 people passed through the Shenzhen Bay exit-entry port on December 20, the fifth time this year the border crossing has set a new record.

Mainlanders are apparently flooding into Hong Kong because of the Christmas sales, with 94,000 crossing into the special administrative region on Saturday alone. The previous record was set just a week before on December 14 when 147,000 people passed through the checkpoint.

So if you want to head to Hong Kong, what time should you go to avoid crowds? Statistics say the only time of the day that didn’t experience a surge of travelers was between 1pm and 3pm. Outside of that, expect huge crowds. With Christmas and the New Year holiday coming up, it might make more sense to stay home.

Photo: Shenzhen Traffic Police



Shenzhen this weekend: Seaworld opens, Santacon, toy drive, and Drum N Bass

Posted: 12/19/2013 3:14 pm

Christmas is almost here! Lots of Christmassy things are starting to pop up around the city. Here’s what’s happening this weekend:

Dec. 19th – Learn to throw a frisbee by the SZUPA – The SZUPA aims to spread the sport of ultimate frisbee to Shenzhen and China. Members meet weekly for many activities related to the sport as well as social activities to reach out to the Shenzhen Community. Join tonight if you’d like to learn the basics of throwing and catching a frisbee. It’s cold so dress warm and bring some hot chocolate!

Dec. 19th – Inner Journey – Meditation with Rose Lv - Join Rose as she leads you in some techniques to reduce stress from the busy lifestyle of Shenzhen.

Dec. 20th - Grand Opening of Seaworld Plaza – After endless construction, Seaworld is finally ready for it’s grand opening. It’s definitely worth a look as they did a great job modernizing it. It looks beautiful. I’m sure this will be a great event to be a part of.

Dec. 20th - Pre-Christmas Party @ Shang Garden Bar – Time to celebrate Christmas with DJ’s and drinking! Also a Lucky Draw!

Dec. 21st - The Official Shenzhen Santacon – Travel around Shenzhen in a Santa costume (provided) and give out gifts to kids while drinking and taking pics. Merry Christmas!

Dec. 21st - Darkside of the BASS – White Cat brings you another drum and bass filled night at Cafe 5. Cheap drinks and good music. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.

Dec. 22nd - Christmas Toys for Needy Children Project – Donate some toys for children in need. Do something good for others this holiday season. Bring your toys Baia’s restaurant in Sea World.

If you attend any of these events, please email me at [email protected] and we may include some of your reviews in a future post. Let’s keep your event organizers working to provide better and better events!

(Editor’s Note: We’re looking for dining and nightlife writers in Guangzhou and Dongguan. If you’re interested, please get in touch with us at [email protected])


Shenzhen this weekend: Fresh holiday fundraiser, Ministry of Sound, and rooftop networking

Posted: 12/12/2013 3:40 pm

People are starting to leave Shenzhen for the holidays, but if you’re one of the few left behind there’s still plenty to keep you entertained. Check out what’s happening in the ‘Zhen this weekend:

Dec. 12th – Learn to throw a frisbee by the SZUPA – The SZUPA aims to spread the sport of ultimate frisbee to Shenzhen and China. Members meet weekly for many activities related to the sport as well as social activities to reach out to the Shenzhen Community. Join tonight if you’d like to learn the basics of throwing and catching a frisbee.

Dec. 13th – Fresh Holiday Fundraiser featuring THE FRIENDLY CANNONS - Fresh Presents a holiday Fundraiser to benefit the Baoji Xinxing Aid Center. 100RMB to shake your booty for a good cause.

Dec. 13th – Ministry of Sound at Club Pepper – Ministry of Sound returns to Club Pepper to start off the holiday season with a hard thumping beat.

Dec. 13th – InterNations Shenzhen December event @ O! Garden Bar in Coco Park – Meet and mingle with Internation members at O! Garden for their monthly meet. A great way to expand your network.

Dec. 14th – Saturday Ultimate Frisbee by the SZUPA – Join a growing group of expats and local Chinese players play the fast growing international sport: Ultimate.

Dec. 14th – Shenzhen Through My Eyez – Photo Exhibition of Our City – After all the submissions, it’s time to see what you see. An exhibition of photos of Shenzhen from people like you. Continues until January 10th.

Dec. 14th - The Terrace 8th Anniversary – One of the most well known bars in Shenzhen is about to celebrate its 8th birthday. Sure to be a great time for one and all.

If you attend any of these events, please email me at [email protected] and we may include some of your reviews in a future post. Let’s keep your event organizers working to provide better and better events!

(Editor’s Note: We’re looking for dining and nightlife writers in Guangzhou and Dongguan. If you’re interested, please get in touch with us at [email protected])


Merry Christmas from The Nanfang

Posted: 12/24/2012 2:34 pm

Another year is winding down here at The Nanfang’s PRD headquarters, and it’s been a busy one.  We re-launched the site this year, which included a re-design of our home page and blog.  In 2013, we have a lot more in store, and want to thank each and every one of you for stopping by and spending a few minutes of your day with us.

There are plenty of Christmas parties happening across the PRD over the holidays, so check The Nanfang’s Events section for Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Guangzhou for details. We’ll be off tomorrow for Christmas Day, but will return to regular posts on the 26th.

From all of us at The Nanfang, we want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


This weekend will be a boozy one for Santas on city-wide pub crawls in Guangzhou

Posted: 12/6/2012 3:51 pm

Calling all Santas!

Believe it or not, Christmas is only a few weeks away, so Guangzhou organizers are getting set to spread some Christmas beer cheer.

Later this week there are two Santa Pub Crawls. Buses teaming with Santas will be hitting the streets Friday and Saturday, and later this month a third one will be sponsored by Tiger Beer, but no details are available yet.

The first Santa crawl will be this Friday (December 7). It’s the 9th Annual Crawl for this event, organized by members of the Australian Consulate, so you’ll be sure to meet some nice Aussies there! As usual, it begins at The Paddy Field, but this time it’s at the new location, in the Oakwood Building.

I’ve been on this crawl for the past two years, and it’s always a great time. Lots of activities, great people, and I’ll definitely be there again this year. It will set you back RMB150 per ticket but includes free flow drinks!

The second crawl, SantaCon 2012, is organized by a group which has hosted similar events in Beijing.  It will be on Saturday, and organizers say it will be an all-day event. Saturday is also SantaCon Day all around the world, and is apparently celebrated in over 250 cities worldwide.

This one gets underway at noon and ends at 3am (that’s right, the next morning! Pace yourselves…) The initial meeting point is Sleeping Wood Cafe in Haizhu. The event route and details will be announced only the NIGHT BEFORE the event, so stay alert. It also has a few more rules… participants MUST dress up. No lazy bones!

If you don’t have a suit or can’t find one, no need to worry: organizers say they’ll provide places to get suits and costumes for less than RMB40.

One thing I like about this event is there is no ticket charge, but it also means there is no shared transportation or deals on drinks, food, etc. (Although this may change the night before!)

Its really dressing up only for the sake of dressing up… which if you ask me, is pretty cool.




Christmas wishes come true: Watch the right movie, win an iPad 2

Posted: 12/23/2011 11:11 am

Guangzhou’s largest cinemas have decided to get with the Christmas spirit, Southern Metropolis Daily (SMD) reports, by trying to get you out to their movies.

On December 24 and 25, promotional activities will be held in China Film South Cinema Corp. cinemas including Feiyang Cinema in Grandview Mall, Mayflower Cinema near Gongyuanqian Station and the new cinema inside TaiKoo Hui, all which have been decorated with beautiful mistletoes, and movies fans who make it to the UME International Cineplex deep in Haizhu district will also have a chance to enter a draws for tickets and various Christmas gifts.

Warner Jinyi cinemas on Huangpu Dadao and elsewhere throughout the city are also in the game, offering viewers “Christmas Carnival Double” tickets available since December 20 which can be redeemed after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day showings for a small Christmas gift, courtesy of Santa Claus himself.

As if this all wasn’t thrilling enough, SMD reports that cinemas are trying so hard to win your business this holiday season that many will make it snow inside the theater. Card-holding Jinyi members can even enter to win prizes including a Polaroid camera and 10 tickets or an iPad 2 and tickets to see a 4D film at Guangzhou’s tallest Warner Jinyi Cinema.

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