Chinese Holidays & Festivals

    The Chinese, like other peoples, observe two sets of holidays,
official and traditional. In addition, minority nationalities in China have their own unique celebrations.

  Official Chinese Holidays
  Traditional Chinese Holidays
  Minority Nationality Holidays

Official Chinese Holidays

New Year's Day (January 1)
     Not as much celebrated as it is in other parts of the world
     because it is overshadowed by the upcoming Chinese New Year
     somewhere a month away. However, employees will enjoy a
     paid day-off. And there will be parties everywhere, in parks,
     dancing halls and universities.

International Women's Day (March 8)
     Interestingly, women employees will get a whole or an half
     paid day-off on the day while the men are at the mercy of their

Tree-Planting Day (April 1)
     Highly promoted since the late 70's by the reformist
     government and yet to become established. It marks the
     begining of a greening campaign all over the country during the
     month each year.

International Labor Day (May 1)
     No less celebrated than the New Year's Day. Employees will
     enjoy a paid day-off. Celebration parties in parks took the
     place of parades today.

Youth Day (May 4)
     A day in memory of the first mass student movement in 1919,
     a movement touched off by the then Chinese government that
     gave in to the Japanese government's attempt to colonize
     Shandong Province. It is also an anti-Confucius movement as
     well as one that promoted the western scientific and
     democratic ideas. Government organized youth ralleys
     everywhere in the country today characterizes the celebration
     of this day.

Children's Day (June 1)
     It is the most momerable day of Chinese kids all over the
     country. Almost all entertainment places such as cinimas,
     parks and children museums and palaces are open free to
     them. Elementary schools throw celebration parties while
     parents shower them with presents.

The CCP's Birthday (July 1)
     It marked the founnding of the Chinese Communist Party in
     1921 in Shanghai. It is usually characterized by front page
     editorials from major government newspagers.

Army's Day (August 1)
     A communist-led nationalist army staged the first armed
     uprising in Chinese communist history against the Nationalists
     on August 1, 1927. It was regarded as the beginning of the
     Red Army (later the People's Liberation Army). Now the
     anniversary is often used to promote better relationships
     between the army and civilians, a tradition believed to have
     helped it beat the Nationalists during the civil war in 1949.

Teacher's Day (September 1)
     It was started in the early eighties as an effort to reverse the
     anti-intellectual sentiment nurtured by the "Cultural
     Revolution". It is yet to become an established holiday.

National Day (October 1)
     It is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of
     China in 1949 in the wake of routing the Nationalists who have
     since taken refuge in Taiwan. There used to be grand parades
     squares of major cities of the country. Now celebrations usually
     take the form of parties in amusement parks by day and
     fire-works and grand TV ensembles during the evening.
     Employees enjoy two paid days-off. It is also a good occasion
     for many people to take a short excursion to enjoy the beauty
     of the golden Fall.

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Traditional Chinese Holidays

        The calendar the Chinese traditional holidays follow is of a unique
lunar-solar system.  Therefore, 1st of the 1st month referred here does not necessarily mean January 1.
Lantern Festival (15th of the 1st month)
     Lantern exhibits, lion and dragon dances, and eating Tang
     Yuan (ball-shaped boiled sweet rice dumplings with delicious
     stuffings.) feature this day. It is very much celebrated in the
     rural areas by farmers. The Lantern Festival also marks the end
     of the Chinese New Year season.

Qing Ming (Pure & Brignt in Chinese) (Fifth of the 24 Solar Terms)
     Originally it was a celebration of spring. People used to
     customarily go out on an excursion to "tread grass". Later it
     became day dedicated to the dear departed. Tidying up
     ancestors' tombs is its major big event.

Duan Wu (Dragon Boat) Festival (5th of the 5th month)
     Said to be in memory of a great patiot poet of the then State
     of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), Qu
     Yuan (Ch'u Yuan), who drowned himself to protest his emperor
     who gave in to the bully State of Chin. For fear that fish may
     comsume his body, people of Chu threw launched their boats
     and started throwing rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves
     into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish. Now the
     big event of dragon boat contest may be a legacy of such
     activity. People today still eat the bamboo-leave rice
     dumplings on the occasion today.

The Seventh Eve (7th of the seventh month)
     It is a traditional holiday almost lost to the younger
     generations today. It originates from a beautiful legend about
     a cowboy and a fairy who were crually separated and renunited
     once each year on this happy sad occasion. A more detailed
     story is forthcoming.

Mid-Autumn Festival (15th of the eighth month)
     It is second only to the Chinese New Year in significance. The
     moon on this day is the fullest and largest to the eye. Viewing
     it by the whole family while feasting on good wine, fruits and
     moon-cakes features the night event. There is also a beautiful
     story behind it. Children are told that there's fairy on the moon
     living in a spacious but cold crystal palace with her sole
     companion, a jade rabbit. A heavenly general and friend would
     occasionally pay her a visit, bringing along his fragrant wine.
     She would then dance a beautiful dance. The shadows on the
     moon made the story all the more credible and fascinating to
     the young imaginative minds.

Spring Festival (The Chinese New Year) (1st of the 1st month)
     The biggest and most celebrated festival in China and part of
     east and south east Asia. For more details, please refer to my
     Chinese New Year homepage.(sorry, under construction at this

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 Minority Nationality Holidays

 Still under construction!

     The Zhuang Song Festival
     The Bai Third Moon Fair
     The Dai (Tai) Watersprinkling Festival
     The Tibetan New Year
     The Mongolian Nadam Fair
     The Yao Danu Festival
     The Yi Torch Festival
     The Miao New Year Festival
     The Dong Fire-Works Festival
     The Bouyei Dancing Party
     The Tujia, Hui, Dongxiang, Baoan Songfest
     The Moslem Corban Festival
     The Jing Singing Festival
     The Lisu Scimitar Rung Festival
     The Jingbo Dancing Festival

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