On a cold December night in Beijing, crowds gather at the Hilton Hotel lobby, eager to listen to a choir gathering on stage. There is the smell of ginger and spice and mulled wine mixed with the aroma of warm pine. For an instant, this could be anywhere but China.
SHANGHAI - With Christmas upon us, Santa is bothered by a huge problem. He has no one to help him deliver the presents.
As the triumphant chords of Hark, The Herald Angels Sing roll out the open doors of Xikai Cathedral in Tianjin on Christmas Day, Father Zhu Lige will be hoping the sound carries a long way. The people of his nearly century-old Catholic parish raised 800 million yuan ($126m) to create that sound, produced by a mammoth, 18-ton pipe organ. It took the venerable Czech organ maker Rieger-Kloss a year to build, a few more months to take it apart and ship to China, and a few more months to reassemble it in the tri-domed landmark church where Father Zhu's flock worships. The story of the organ began in 2006, when the people of Xikai church decided that a pipe organ would be their improvement project for the upcoming 2008 Olympic year. While the people of Xikai, also known as St. Joseph's, get the most pleasure and spiritual uplift as the organ's 1,897 pipes boom and trill, donations for the instrument came from all over China. Father Zhu and his colleague, Dean Ma Bao, find that to be very appropriate.
His beard is iconic, his red robe and green pants are symbolic, his jovial laugh is titanic, he is the one and only Father Christmas, Santa Claus and he is making his presence felt in Beijing. Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicolas, Kris Kringle, or just simply Santa, touched down in Beijing decked out in his Christmas best at the Finnish Ambassador's residence on Tuesday as part of a tour across China before his big night, Christmas Eve. Presented to a crowd of media by the Finnish ambassador Lars Backstrom at the ambassador's residence, Santa Claus says he is delighted to be in Beijing.
On a Tuesday evening in December, the pews of St John's Cathedral are packed to the rafters with Hong Kong residents dressed in their Sunday best. They have gathered at the oldest Anglican church in Asia - its first sermon was held in 1849 - for a good cause: the annual charity concert organized by the city's Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care. Though there are many parents eager to snap Facebook pictures of their children in the Island School's orchestra and chamber choir, the headline act that evening belonged to the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir. The 70-strong chorus has been singing at the charity concert ever since it was first held in 1990.
There are many ways to say "Merry Christmas", as these images show, in many languages and at many places. We collect a few classics for the season.
LONDON - Almost halfway through the Premier League season and there are already seven points separating Manchester rivals City and United from the chasing pack.
By making its new exhibition, The Great Designers, a two-part deal, the Museum at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology will cover the 20th and 21st centuries and will no doubt spare a few egos in the process.
The problem with turkeys is their size. The smallest bird in the market still weighs in at under 6 kg, the last time I checked. Once you've enjoyed the bird at Christmas, you really don't look want to chew on a week's worth of turkey sandwiches.
On the lobby walls of the Grace Hotel Beijing are some huge "maps" you cannot possibly miss.
Not everyone is a party animal and when there are just a few days off work, many prefer to use the opportunity to recharge. With the coming New Year and Spring Festival holidays just round the corner, the China Daily Sunday team gives you a few suggestions.