外媒看中国 圣诞节流行送苹果


Anyone bemoaning the loss of the True Meaning of Christmas probably shouldn’t celebrate in China. Here, it’s mostly business as usual on the 25th. Vacation time won’t come until weeks later for China’s own winter holiday: Chinese New Year in mid-February.
Santa exists primarily in malls, plus the occasional grocery store or cafe. Some members of the younger generation have started playing Secret Santa, while others have bought artificial trees for their homes and offices.
There is, however, one Christmas tradition that’s distinctly Chinese: Apples.
The Chinese word for apple, pingguo, sounds a lot like the Chinese word for Christmas Eve, ping’an ye, and, as such, a tradition has formed. While Americans shell out wads of US dollars for high-tech presents like iPhones and Xboxes, Chinese friends simply exchange apples.

I’m in an over-lit fruit market in Hangzhou. Christmas music—albeit in Mandarin—is playing over the store loudspeakers. Staffers are wearing green aprons and red Santa caps. This is the most Christmas spirit I’ve seen outside Starbucks.
It’s an odd time to grocery shop—Saturday night, just before closing—but the store is full. Santa-capped employees hand bags of fruit to a stream of customers.
I walk past stacks of tiny, apple-sized boxes. Some boxes are clear, save for the outlines of cute cartoon bears with tiny plastic ears popping up on top. Some boxes proclaim “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!” in English on their sides. Some apples aren’t in boxes at all, but are rather all tied up in festive pink and purple cellophane.
I opt for a more traditional Western package of red and green cardboard and I call over an employee for help. He’s dressed in head-to-toe Santa Claus garb, complete with black boots and a fake beard.

“Merry Christmas!” I say, momentarily forgetting that this particular Kris Kringle might not understand me.
  我对他说:“Merry Christmas!”,说这话的时候我忘了这在中国,对方虽然穿成这样,但有可能听不懂我在说什么。
When a friend once told me to bring apples to my first-ever Chinese dinner party, it seemed like a cheap offering until I saw the price: Nearly 70 RMB (over $10) for just a few of them. That’s not unbearably expensive, but the cost is comparable to produce we’d consider exotic in the US.
Meanwhile, in the fruit market in my neighborhood, a woman in a Santa cap is ringing me up at the cashier.
“Merry Christmas,” I say, once again forgetting about the language barrier. Then I realize I don’t even know how to say Christmas in Mandarin. Instead, I fall back on my old faithful phrase, one which I hope will evoke what I mean: A big smile and “Xiexie, zaijian.”
  我又说了一次“Merry Christmas”,又把语言隔阂这茬给忘了。这时我才想起,我连“Christmas”的汉语都不会说。所以我只好用老一套但是很管用的表达–笑容满面地说声:“谢谢,再见。”

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该日志由 1zanxin 于2014年12月26日发表在 双语阅读 分类下,
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