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Christmas is not only celebrated in the west. There are more and more active Christians in China, and they celebrate Christmas too. There are churches in all the bigger cities and towns in China and even in some rural villages.
Let's take a look at how Yunnan's minorities celebrate Christmas.
Nobody really knows when missionaries first arrived in Yunnan, but during the nineteenth and twentieth century a lot of missionaries from Britain, France, Austria, Denmark, Australia... came to the most remote corners of the province to convert locals to Catholicism or Protestantism. Their work was not without success as now you can still find many Christians within the Lisu, Miao, Dulong, Jinuo, Nu and Yi ethnic groups. Most of them have bibles translated in their own minority language and sing hymns in their own language too.
For Christmas, the Christian Lisu from several villages in Fugong county gather together at the local church to celebrate. The celebrations start on the 23th of December and lasts until the 26th. During those days everyone eats together, sings hymns praised to god and there are traditional Lisu songs and dances. Three times a day everyone gathers to pray together in the church. On the evening of the 24th , they have a midnight mass, and a very early morning prayer the 25th . Everyone dresses in their Sunday best, which means colorful traditional costumes for some, gleaming shoes and "fashionable" jackets for others.
Closer to Kunming, in the Xiaoshuijing village of Fumin county, the Miao ethnic group has maintained a Christian choir for decades. They chant their reverent love and devotion to their God in Miao language. The choir, comprised of local farmers, has competed in national singing competitions and won several prices. In the last years, for Christmas, they have been invited to perform in several places, including Macao.
In the Tibetan village of Cizhong, the Christmas mass is the biggest festival of the year and the non-religious parts of the festival are even celebrated by local Buddhists too. On Christmas eve everyone gathers to clean and decorate the old church, built by the French missionaries in 1905. Then they eat together and gather again in the evening for the midnight mass. The mass itself is a lot like western Christmas church-celebrations except that it is held in a mix of Tibetan and Chinese language. After the christian ceremonies are finished, comes the festival part of the whole affair. There are drinking games, traditional Tibetan songs and dances and lots of local snacks.