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Mandarin Chinese Christmas Vocabulary

Sheng Dan Kuai Le

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Due to the relatively small numbers of Christians in China and Taiwan (about 1 to 5% of the total population), Christmas is not a public holiday in these countries. Both Malaysia and Singapore, however, celebrate Christmas as an official holiday.

Despite it being a regular workday in Taiwan and China, many people in recent years have begun celebrating Christmas. You can see Christmas decorations in department stores and the custom of exchanging gifts is becoming more popular – especially with the younger generation. Many people also decorate their homes with Christmas trees and other Christmas ornaments.

Two Ways to Say Christmas

There are two ways to say “Christmas” in Mandarin Chinese – either ►shèng dàn jié (聖誕節 trad 圣诞节 simp) or ►yē dàn jié (耶誕節 trad 耶诞节 simp).

In each of the phrases, the final two characters (►dàn jié) are the same. ►Dàn refers to birth, and ►jié means “holiday”.

The first character of Christmas can be either ►shèng or ►. Shèng translates as “saint” and yē is a phonetic which is used for Jesus - ►yē sū (耶穌 trad 耶稣 simp).

Shèng dàn jié means “the birth of a saint holiday” and yē dàn jié means “the birth of Jesus holiday.”

Shèng dàn jié is the more popular of the two phrases. Whenever you see ►shèng dàn, though, remember that you can also use ►yē dàn instead.

Mandarin Chinese Christmas Vocabulary List

Audio files are marked with ►

English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
Christmas shèng dàn jié 聖誕節 圣诞节
Christmas yē dàn jié 耶誕節 耶诞节
Christmas eve shèng dàn yè 聖誕夜 圣诞夜
Christmas eve ping ān yè 平安夜 平安夜
Merry Christmas shèng dàn kuài lè 聖誕快樂 圣诞快乐
Christmas tree shèng dàn shù 聖誕樹 圣诞树
Candy Cane guǎi zhàng táng 拐杖糖 拐杖糖
Christmas presents shèng dàn lǐ wù 聖誕禮物 圣诞礼物
Stocking shèng dàn wà 聖誕襪 圣诞袜
Poinsetta shèng dàn hóng 聖誕紅 圣诞红
Gingerbread house jiāng bǐng wū 薑餅屋 姜饼屋
Christmas card shèng dàn kǎ 聖誕卡 圣诞卡
Santa Claus shèng dàn lǎo rén 聖誕老人 圣诞老人
Sleigh xuě qiāo 雪橇 雪橇
Reindeer mí lù 麋鹿 麋鹿
Christmas carol shèng dàn gē 聖誕歌 圣诞歌
Caroling bào jiā yīn 報佳音 报佳音
Angel tiān shǐ 天使 天使
Snowman xuě rén 雪人 雪人
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