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In China, Easter is only a special holiday for the Catholics, Orthodox and most established Christian churches. Millions of Christians celebrate in some fashion. But most people don't observe it or believe in the resurrection at all, and other millions of Chinese have taken up Western children customs such as Easter eggs hunts just for the fun or novelty. Here is how the people celebrate on Easter in the Mainland and Hong Kong.
How people celebrate Easter varies widely. For Christians, the point of Easter is to commemorate Christ’s resurrection from the dead three days after crucifixion. Some of the established churches with buildings treat it like a mini Chinese New Year complete with red paper slogans called chūnlián (春联) on the church building and in the homes, special bands or music, and special decorations.
At those established churches with buildings, Easter eggs might be given as gifts or sold outside the church, and everyone attends a special mass or service. The official Chinese Catholic churches are among those with big celebrations. In them, new Catholics are also traditionally baptized on Easter. In recent years, there has been a big jump in Catholic baptisms in Catholic churches on Easter. Chinese Catholic Churches don't have an official connection to the Pope.
However, smaller home groups might celebrate as family or friends quietly or even secretly saying simple prayers and talking about the resurrection of Jesus.
Non-Christians might take the opportunity to make special foods like Easter eggs to sell, and some malls in China, following the Western custom, might have special Easter sales in order to try to spur profits.
For many people, especially for children, eating and painting Easter eggs (复活节彩色蛋, Fuhuojie caisedan) is the most important and fun custom on Easter Sunday. Among Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox around Russian influenced Heilongjiang Province, making, painting, and decorating Easter eggs is a special custom. Easter is one of the most important festivals for Russian Orthodox, and it is believed in Russia that Easter eggs means new life. The Russians and Chinese Orthodox love this custom. You might see pictures of a Chinese-looking Jesus painted on the eggs!
People in Hong Kong celebrate Easter more avidly. This is partly because of their English traditions, and partly because there are a lot of Christians, established churches, and foreign Christian expats living there. If you are a tourist visiting at that time, you might be surprised about the extent of the celebrations. A place for tourists to go for services might be St. Andrews Church on the tourist popular Golden Mile section of Nathan Road near the harbor. It is renowned for its architecture and friendly atmosphere.
Easter Monday, the day after Easter, and Easter Sunday are public holidays in Hong Kong. The banks, the post office and the government departments will be closed. Some of the museums, theme parks and other attractions may have different hours.
Easter in the West traditionally is the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. So the date varies a lot, but it falls between March 22 and April 25. In the next few years, the dates for most Chinese are:
But for Chinese Orthodox, some of the dates are different during the next few years:
Happy Easter, everyone! 祝你们复活节快乐! (Zhu nimen Fuhuojie kuaile!).