Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas in Beijing

Christmas display at night at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

Well, it is Christmas time in China, also. This display is outside the Oriental Plaza mall on ChangAn Ave.
Christmas tree at Fortune Plaza in Beijing

Christmas in China is decidedly secular. The only religious aspect are the Christmas carols playing on the PA system in every shopping center and hotel, and even our apartment building elevators. Of course,  for most of the population, the meaning or even the exact words of the songs are a mystery.
Singles event at Fortune Mall in Beijing

Margot and I were headed to a western oriented grocery store on Saturday when we stumbled on this scene.

A couple of men approached us, the first was around 50 and another about 30. The younger one spoke good English and explained that this was an event for singles to meet one another.

There were some ice-breaking events that seemed to be geared for the general attendees. The event was sponsored by Samsung to promote their new Note 2 phone-tablet device.

Then we see the couples in wedding regalia. I was thinking that this was a fashion show but the couples didn't look like the professional models that I've seen before at events.

Margot counted about 22 couples. They are lining up in this shot.

Then all the couples process onto the stage and lines up in 3 rows.

All the commentary over the PA system was in Chinese so we really had no idea what was going on other than what we see. The couples went through a couple of exercises to demonstrate the features of the Note 2.

They seemed to write notes using the stylus and then took pictures of themselves and each other.

Then it morphs into a wedding ceremony. Here the men get down on one knee.

Here the men kiss their bride.

Here the brides in the front row toss their bouquets to the crowd in front of the stage. I'm still thinking this is just a staged event but as the couples leave the stage they seem to be receiving genuine congratulations from friends.

Later it dawned on me that the first guy that approached us was probably hitting on Margot. I can't come up with another explanation for a middle aged man to attempt to strike up a conversation with a westerner in Chinese.
Christmas display during the day at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

Here is a shot of the display at the top of this post taken during the day.
Two women pose in front of the Christmas display at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

It was a very popular place to pose for pictures.

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