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When 'Chinese Fortune Grandpa' meets 'Santa Claus'

(People's Daily Online)

08:01, January 05, 2013

(Xinhua/Wang Ying)

The kindly "Chinese Fortune Grandpa" wearing Han Chinese clothing and holding a fortune bag debuted at the Imperial Ancestral Shrine in Beijing on the day after Christmas. The final image of the Chinese gift-giver was selected through a global design competition that cost millions of yuan. Its debut seems to be a sign of competition against "Santa Claus", according to a report by Guangming Daily.

Many Chinese cities have been filled with Christmas neon lights, Christmas songs, Christmas trees, and the images of "Santa Claus" in recent days, and the business of hotels and restaurants has been exceptionally brisk. As a matter of fact, foreign festivals are becoming more popular than certain traditional Chinese festivals among the Chinese people, particularly the youth.

"Certain traditional festivals have died out because people have forgotten their spiritual connotations," said noted writer Feng Jicai. More and more Chinese people are beginning to exchange gifts on Valentine's Day and Christmas. However, many of them know nothing about Chinese New Year pictures or sugarcoated figurines, have never heard suona music, and cannot recognize wormwood or calami. Certain folk customs on the Dragon Boat Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, and other traditional festivals have gradually disappeared. Under such circumstances, even the "Chinese Fortune Grandpa" is unlikely to defeat "Santa Claus".

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