Friday, December 30, 2011

The Christmas Apple

New Year's Eve is fast upon us, but I didn't want to let Christmas slip away....
(in your heart, never let Christmas slip away)

"... and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"* - Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

Which, while we're on the subject (we were on the subject, right), my all time favorite movie version of A Christmas Carol is the 1951 rendition,"Scrooge," starring Alastair Sim. I don't think you could find a more penitent, joyful Ebenezer anywhere.

Okay, so where was I?  Oh.... Not letting the holiday slip away without mentioning a Christmas Eve tradition which is, as far as I know, uniquely Chinese....

The Christmas Apple.

In Chinese, Christmas Eve is called 平安夜(Píng'ān yè), literally "peaceful night."  The title and verses of the lovely carol "Silent Night" are also translated in this way. Because the first character in the word "peace," 平(píng) and the first character in the word for "apple," 苹果(píngguǒ) are basically what we would deem homophones (sound the same, but with different meanings), these two unrelated objects have become now and forever linked.  The giving of a cellophane wrapped and ribboned apple at this time of year has come to represent a wish for peace and health. And most often the gift giver will be a young man or woman in love.


This apple says, "我爱你"(Wǒ ài nǐ) or "I love you."

 *I am indebted to John Holbo who supplied this great image from an 1843 version of A Christmas Carol illustrated by J. Leech.

Apple images all from Chinese shopping website Taobao  (which does not sell to those outside of the Mandarin speaking world) and are credited to the following shops:

Mini Bears


  1. Very interesting Steph! Happy New Year to you and your family! :-) Sue

  2. i love the idea of peaceful, Christmas apples! thank you for
    the sweet lesson from another culture.

    the advent season did swallow me up, and i enjoyed every
    moment. it is difficult for to live fully and to blog at the same
    time. one or the other seems to slide. if you ever see that i
    have one post after another and another, then please tell me to
    return to my life! :)

    blessings on your new year,

    ps. i thought it was funny that you mixed up my name with
    my blog's name, and yours is named KATIE! i think katie and
    emily will become dear friends.

  3. Happy 2012 Steph! Thanks so much for your sweet visit! Hugs, Lisa :)


Thank you for your comments. They help me feel that I am some how connected out here in Blogland and not just writing to the air.


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