There are 7 public holidays in China. In this blog we will introduce them: New Year, Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), Qingming Festival, Labour Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day. China has two so-called ‘Golden Week’ celebrations, the Spring Festival and National day are the only one-week long holiday. The dates of many Chinese public holidays change every year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Below are the dates for 2017.
New Year (元旦 – yuándàn)
The western New Year is a three-day long holiday from December 31st till January 2nd. However, the Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival is way more popular in China.
Spring Festival (春节 – chūnjié)
The Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival and the first ‘Golden Week’. It is traditionally celebrated with the lion dance and lots of fireworks. It is common to clean the whole house and buy new clothes during the Chinese New Year, it symbolises getting ready for a new start. This Festival is comparable to Christmas in the western culture whereas family members reunite and spend time together. Gifts such as fruit, chocolate and cookies will be exchanged between friends and acquaintances. Children even get red envelopes (红包 – hóngbāo) with money inside from their parents or other older family members. Please note that traveling during the Spring Festival is not advised because it is the most busiest holiday in China where the vast majority of Chinese people head back to their hometowns to spend the holiday with their families.
Qingming Festival (清明节 – qīngmíngjié)
April 4th or April 5th
Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Festival falls either on April 4th or 5th every year. This Festival is dedicated to paying respect to ancestors at their graves. It is customary to burn paper for their ancestors in order for them to have a comfortable life in the hereafter. The paper is shaped in cars, houses and fake money. A trend in recent years is to burn paper replicas of luxury goods such as iPads, ensuring that they have the latest technology in the hereafter.
Labour Day (劳动节 – láodòngjié)
Labour Day is a three-day long public holiday. Most Chinese people spend their time together with their family, friends, visit theaters and exhibitions. There will be large discounts on shopping goods during this holiday. This holiday is ideal for shopping!
Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 – duānwǔjié)
The Dragon Boat Festival is a three-day long public holiday. The festival falls on the 5th day on the 5th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar. This Festival commemorates an ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan. He was a famous poet and philosopher from the Qin era. Nowadays, family members reunite and celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival together. You will most probably see a lot of boat races in the many rivers and canals in China. It is a tradition to eat (粽子 – zòngzi) during this festival. It is a pyramid shaped sticky rice package with different kinds of filings.
National Day (国庆节 – guóqìngjié)
The National Day, also known as the second ‘Golden Week’ that starts on October 1st every year. This Festival is dedicated to the People’s Republic of China that was founded on October 1st 1949. The government organises festivals, parades and firework shows. Did you know that the longest traffic jam in history lasted 12 days? It happened in China when 750 million people traveled around during the this ‘Golden Week’ in China.
Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 – zhōngqiūjié)
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Festival. It is a tradition to eat mooncakes together with your family during this Festival. The shape of a mooncake is round, this resembles the moon which proximity to earth is at its closest during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Nowadays, Chinese people also give mooncakes to their friends and families to wish them a long and happy life. Make sure you try them during the Mid-Autumn Festival!
Bear in mind that lots of Chinese people go traveling during the ‘Golden Weeks’. Flight tickets, train tickets and long-distance bus tickets will be hard to buy. If possible, avoid traveling during the ‘Golden Weeks’ because populair scenic areas and attraction sites will be very crowded.
These are the 7 national public holidays in China. We hope you have an amazing cultural experience in China!
Written by Wing Lam, Intern at China Plus