With amazing lights filling the streets, down to the Christmas-themed parks and holiday buffets, Hong Kong has one of the most festive Christmas in the world indeed. There is no need for snow like in Western countries because the amazing lights of skyscrapers and the loud Christmas everywhere will do the magic for you.
Christians celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December to commemorate Jesus Christ. But more than that, preparing gifts and giving out greeting cards, the Christmas season symbolizes family, giving, love, and peace. During Christmas Eve, families are gathered together to hold a simple party, give each other gifts and Christmas cards, and, most importantly, have a Christmas Eve dinner.
You could also never let Christmas pass without hearing and saying a lot of Christmas greetings, whether personally or through Christmas cards. So, let us learn some Cantonese Christmas greetings to help you fully imbibe the holiday season.
Hong Kong During The Holiday Season
Hong Kong is truly a magnificent city itself, even during ordinary days. Can you imagine how splendid it is during the holiday season? Yes, the answer is breathtaking. So, before learning some Cantonese Christmas greetings, let us take a quick tour of Hong Kong during the Christmas season.
In Hong Kong, December 25 and 26 are considered public holidays. All the government public facilities are closed during these days, like schools, post offices, and banks. But the restaurants and hotels are open.
Now, let us talk about the atmosphere (氣氛 hei3 fan1). Hong Kongers celebrate Christmas in a very festive way. The atmosphere is very joyful, Santa Claus is everywhere, the skyscrapers are brilliantly shining with Christmas lights, and you will be hearing a lot of Christmas songs playing, don’t the huge speakers. There are also a lot of parties and exchanging gifts happening all over Hong Kong, so you really can feel the Christmas vibe.
Hotels (酒店 zau2 dim3) and restaurants (餐廳 caan1 teng1) are also booked because Hong Kongers love to spend Christmas in places like this and have a nice Christmas dinner. The usual price of a dinner in a Hong Kong hotel is HK$650. But please remember that hotels and restaurants are fully booked during the 25th and 26th, so make sure to book way ahead of time.
These hotels and restaurants also have a Christmas theme from the decorations to the food they serve, like Turkey (火雞 fo2 gai1.) If you’re from western countries and you miss the typical Christmas food, you can enjoy it in Hong Kong restaurants.
In Hong Kong, there’s no snow (雪 syut3). So, shopping malls and other themed parks make fake snow, snowman, and other ice displays for advertising. Just to imbibe the idea of a “White Christmas.” You can also go to indoor ice skating rinks because you can never see an outside ice skating rink due to the weather.
Of course, lastly, the theme parks (主題公園 zyu2 tai4 gung1 jyun2) in Hong Kong is one of the biggest attractions. You can have fun with the rides and games, enjoy performances, and even buy Christmas souvenirs. This is where you can really feel the magic of Christmas.
There are also the most awaited Christmas performances from The Hong Kong Ballet, The Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Chinese Christmas Traditions In Hong Kong
Chinese Christians in Hong Kong celebrate Christmas by attending church services in both Cantonese, Chinese, and English held at separate times throughout the day. Christians in Hong Kong enjoy singing Christmas carols and visiting Christmas markets.
Hong Konger normally buys Christmas cards in the shops. But some people still love to make DIY Christmas cards to put some crafts that symbolize Chinese culture or to make it more personal. They usually write messages and Christmas greetings (which we will learn later) on the Christmas cards.
People love to decorate (裝飾 zong1 sik1) their homes with the usual Christmas decorations like tinsel, wreath, poinsettias, flowers, Christmas lights, and of course, a Christmas tree. Of course, Santa Claus can be seen anywhere. In the Cantonese language, Santa Claus (聖誕老人 sing3 daan3 lou5 jan4) means “Christmas Old Man.”
Christmas in Hong Kong is very different from Christmas in Mainland China. Although they both have Chinese culture, you can see that Hong Kong has a lot of more Western vibes, which you will discover below.
How To Celebrate Christmas In Hong Kong
There are lots of ways to have a splendid and unforgettable Christmas in Hong Kong. Before learning some Cantonese Christmas greetings, here are some ways you can spend your Christmas in Hong Kong.
With the large glittering skyline, Santa Claus statues, and Christmas carols by the choir, Winterfest is indeed the heart of the holiday season in Hong Kong. During this time of year, the city is decked out in festive decorations, the largest of which is the Christmas tree that stands proudly in Statue Square. This is something that you shouldn’t miss if you’re in Hong Kong during this season. Admission is free. Winterfest runs from December, and it will end on New Year’s Eve, where you can enjoy a fireworks display and The Hong Kong Symphony of Lights.
Have A Nice Christmas Dinner In Hong Kong Hotels
Hong Kong is also full of luxurious hotels where you can have a Christmas dinner buffer. Hong Kongers prefer eating out to making their own food at home, and hotels are one of the best places to have dinner with your family or friends. One of these hotels is The Peninsula Hotel, where you can have Christmas afternoon tea and a multi-course dinner. You can feel the Christmas vibe by just entering the hotel lobby. There are giant Christmas decorations that will welcome you.
Shopping malls are on sale during the holiday season, so it is a perfect time to go shopping. Not only shopping malls but there are boutiques and stores in the streets like Mongkok where you can buy different things. One famous market in Hong Kong during the Christmas season is the Christmas market at Stanley Plaza. Aside from buying stuff, you can also enjoy live entertainment and, of course, food.
Go To Museum And Theme Parks
With the amazing lights, decorations, fake snow, and Santa Claus with his reindeers and elves, you will indeed have a magical night in different theme parks and museums like Disneyland and Ocean. In Disneyland, you will experience countless parades, amazing lights, and Christmas decorations. There’s Mickey Mouse and his friends who will give you a magical night you’ll never forget.
Cantonese VS Mandarin
If you are just a beginner in learning Cantonese, you might be confused with the other Chinese language Mandarin. The first thing that you should know before learning Cantonese Christmas greetings is that Cantonese is mainly used in Hong Kong, and Mandarin is mainly used in Mainland China.
Although they are both Chinese languages, they have huge differences. If you want to learn more about these differences, there’s a separate lesson or blog for you. But for now, take a look at the example below.
As you can see, the two languages really differ from each other. The Cantonese word for Christmas is 聖誕 Sing3 Daan3, while for Mandarin, it’s 圣诞节 – Shèng Dàn Jié.
How To Say Merry Christmas In Cantonese?
Aside from the giant trees and sparkling lights, having dinner in hotels and restaurants, going shopping, and going to theme parks, there is another way to spread happiness and love during Christmas time – greeting Merry Christmas. Greeting someone is a sign of thoughtfulness and also kindness. Like what is stated above, Christmas is more than just material things and amazing decorations. Simple gestures like greeting Merry Christmas will count too.
So, let’s learn some Cantonese Christmas greetings! Don’t worry because English Translation and Jyutping pronunciation are also available to help you.
English Translation: Merry Christmas
The first Cantonese Christmas greetings that we will learn is, of course, Merry Christmas. In Cantonese, they say 聖誕快樂！(Sing3 Daan3 Faai3 Lok6!). It is used to express good wishes on Christmas day. You can mostly see it written in Christmas cards and decorations in shopping malls and themed parks.
English Translation: Happy holidays!
You can also say Merry Christmas using different words. The second Cantonese Christmas greetings that we will learn is Happy Holidays. In Hong Kong, they only consider two days as a holiday, but the holiday spirit can be felt for the whole of December.
English Translation: Warm wishes!
Saying Warm Wishes is also one of the most popular Cantonese greetings. In Cantonese, they say 溫馨嘅祝福！ (Wan1 Hing1 Ge3 Zuk1 Fuk1!). This can also be added after saying the greeting “Merry Christmas.” Wishing someone good things in life is something precious because it is a sign that you care for that person. That is the true spirit of Christmas.
Other Holiday Greetings
Aside from Christianity, there are also other religions in Hong Kong that may be celebrating special occasions during these times. So instead of Cantonese Christmas greetings, here is how you greet them:
English Translation: Happy Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival that begins on Kislev 25 (typically in November or December on the Gregorian calendar) and lasts for eight days. It is also called Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, or Feast of the Maccabees. It’s commemorated to honor Jewish religious liberty.
English Translation: Happy Kwanzaa!
This greeting is for your native African-American or West African friends. It is a non-religious celebration, and many people celebrate Kwanzaa and Christmas at the same time. Throughout Kwanzaa week, families and communities join together to enjoy a feast, respect the ancestors, confirm their links, and celebrate African and African American culture.
English Translation: Have a happy New Year!
Since in Gregorian Calendar, New Year’s Day is only a week away from Christmas. People also include this New Year in greeting someone. A new year symbolizes new beginnings, so it wouldn’t hurt to wish someone a happy new year and good fortune.
English Translation: Best wishes for the new year!
This is another way of wishing someone a happy new year in Cantonese. You can also use it in greeting the important people around you.
English Translation: See you next year!
Since there are lots of people who go to Hong Kong just to see the annual Christmas celebrations, you can say this as a goodbye with the hope of seeing them next year.
English Translation: Have a great winter vacation!”
You can also use 希望你有一個好好嘅寒假！(Hei1 Mong6 Nei5 Jau5 Jat1 Go3 Hou2 Hou2 Ge3 Hon4 Gaa3!) which is “Have a great winter vacation!” in English. You can only use this phrase for people who live in a country during winter during Christmas.
Now that we’re done learning different Cantonese Christmas greetings, you should remember that the true essence of Christmas lies in making each other people feel that they are loved, cared for, and remembered. The parties, gifts, and nice decorations are just material things that add up to the Christmas vibe. Always remember the true symbolism of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Words And Phrases Related To Christmas
You have successfully learned different Cantonese Christmas greetings, so that we will learn some additional Christmas vocabulary in the first part.
Make Your Next Holiday In Hong Kong Meaningful. Learn Cantonese Now!
A true, meaningful, well-spent holiday in Hong Kong doesn’t lie with how expensive the gifts you receive or how much you have fun on your whole trip. The amazing connection with the Hong Kongers and the Hong Kong culture you have built makes it more meaningful. There’s nothing more effective way to connect with people than communicating with them. This is where learning Cantonese will really be essential.
Imagine if you know how to speak Cantonese. You’ll be able to talk with the locals like you’re one of them. You’ll also make new friends and bonds that will last forever. So, why not learn Cantonese? If you are worried about how you’ll do that, we have the answer for you – the Ling app.
With Ling, you’ll be able to have an amazing language-learning journey. Learning Cantonese will make you feel like you are playing a game. You are having fun, but you are still learning. Learning activities and content are backed by linguistic research, so you know that you’re on the right track. With this, you can achieve fluency in record time.