Holidays in China
When, how and what do the Chinese celebrate? What interesting traditions do each holiday have? What is interesting for tourists to see? On what holidays is it extremely undesirable to visit China? Read the answers and see a detailed calendar of holidays in China.
Important feature of holidays in China
Three calendars are used to determine the dates of holidays in China. Some of the holidays are celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar, some according to the Oriental lunar calendar (counting months by phases of the moon), some according to the solar calendar (counting time from the solstices and equinoxes).
Most Chinese holidays are celebrated according to the Eastern lunar calendar. The date of Gregorian calendar, which we are accustomed to, changes every year.
Calendar for 2022 and 2023
|New Year||January 1||January 1|
|Chinese New Year||January 31 – February 6||January 21-27|
|Qingming Festival||April 5||April 5|
|Labor Day||May 1-4||May 1|
|Dragon Boat Festival||June 3||June 22|
|Mid-Autumn Festival||September 10-12||September 29|
|National PRC Day||October 1-7||October 1-7|
Day Holidays Rescheduled
It is an active practice in China to reschedule holidays. If a holiday falls on Tuesday or Thursday, it is set as a day off on Monday or Friday, but any nearby Saturday (rarely Sunday) is made a working Saturday.
The exact schedule of holidays for the following year is officially published by the General Office of the State Council (Government) of the PRC in the first half of December.
Holidays for Certain Population Groups
An extremely interesting phenomenon. There are 4 days when not all Chinese people have a day off, but only certain groups:
March 8 Women’s Day – women work only half the day.
May 4 Youth Day – young workers (14 to 28 years old) work only half the day.
June 1 Children’s Day – schoolchildren under 14 do not study.
August 1 Army Day – members of the armed forces work only half the day.
Two Golden Weeks.
China has two holidays with three consecutive days off – Chinese New Year and PRC National Day. The government always assigns extra days off to make a full week off. These two weeks are called “Golden Weeks.
A lot of Chinese people work in other cities, and they go home to see their loved ones. A lot of Chinese people go to resorts or other cities for excursions during these weeks. Transportation is congested. We do not recommend planning trips within China during the Golden Weeks.
The most popular beach vacation destination for the Chinese is Hainan Island and Sanya resort. Hotel occupancy during the “golden weeks” is always 100%. We do not recommend planning a vacation in Hainan at this time.
Attractions in the “golden weeks” are overcrowded, free tables in restaurants are in short supply. We do not recommend going to China at all during the Golden Weeks.
Descriptions of Chinese holidays
In China right now there are 11 official holidays a year. Their number is periodically increased, considering it a measure of “extinguishing” the growth of the economy. After the founding of the PRC (1949) there were only 4 official holidays and 7 days off. In 1999 they increased to 10 days off, in 2007 to 11.
January 1 – New Year
National holiday, day off January 1.
The Gregorian New Year in China is considered a secondary holiday. Chinese people adopted the Gregorian calendar only in 1912, they never had a tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve from December 31 to January 1. Ordinary Chinese people perceive January 1 as a pleasant day off.
Usually the authorities try to move some weekend to Saturday or Sunday so that there are three days off in a row. There is already an official calendar for 2021, January 1 falls on a Friday, no postponement is required.
You could say that for the Chinese, New Year’s Day on January 1 is an aperitif before the upcoming Chinese New Year. It is a kind of signal to start preparing for the main holiday: to think about buying gifts and new clothes, to buy tickets to the hometown, if one works far from home.
The Chinese celebrate according to European traditions. They watch New Year’s television shows, congratulate family and friends, and give small gifts. In the cities arrange fireworks, the largest in Beijing over the Forbidden City.
Some people go out at night, but there are no mass celebrations as we are used to. Restaurants arrange festive dinners with a show program. In hotels in Hainan, such dinners are the brightest, as there are many foreign tourists.
In general, the New Year in China is not very interesting. If you find yourself in major cities, it is recommended to contact a travel agency. They always organize some special tours for foreign tourists – meeting the New Year at the Great Wall of China and other events.
The date changes – Chinese New Year
The main holiday in China, three official weekends
New Year according to the lunar calendar. Usually takes place in late January or the first half of February. Most often it is called “Chinese New Year,” which is not quite correct, since the same lunar calendar is also used in Vietnam, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands.
In 2020, the Chinese New Year fell on the night of January 24 to 25. The weekend was from January 24 to February 4. Some cities extended the weekend to February 9 or 13 as part of anti-coveting measures.
In 2021, Chinese New Year falls on the night of February 11 to 12. The weekend is from February 11 to 17, but the days of February 7 and 20 will be working days (compensation).
In 2022, Chinese New Year falls on the night of January 31 to February 1. The exact dates of the weekend will be known in December 2021 (government decision). But most likely, there will be no transfers. The weekends will run from January 31 (Monday) to February 4 (Friday).
Chinese people have been celebrating New Year’s Eve according to the lunar calendar for over 3,000 years. The traditions of the holiday are very diverse and interesting. There are a lot of traditions and there’s no point in describing them on this page. Read our detailed article “Chinese New Year”.
April 4 or 5 – Qingming Festival
National holiday, day off.
It is celebrated on the 15th day after the day of the vernal equinox. Falls on April 4 or 5. In 2020 – April 4, in 2021 – April 5, in 2022 – April 5, in 2023 – April 5, in 2024 – April 4, in 2025 – April 5.
The holiday is called “Ancestral Memorial Day” or “Tomb Sweeping Day. China’s original religion is the Cult of the Ancestors. Recall that Buddhism for China is a religion imported from India, while Confucianism and Taoism emerged about 3,500 years ago, that is, much later than the Ancestor Cult.
The Cult of Ancestors is still actively practiced today, and Qingming is the main holiday of this religion. On this day it is customary to sweep gravesites, clean gravestones, and bring fresh flowers to graves.
Incense is burned near the graves and paper copies of money are burned. It is believed that the spiritual component of these pieces of paper will go to the spirit world, and thus the ancestors who have died will receive money as a gift. In recent years they have begun to burn not only copies of money, but also paper crafts in the form of consumer goods and even cars or iPhones. Food is brought to the graves, so that the spiritual component of the food is passed on to the spirit world.
For tourists Qingming is not particularly interesting, as mass events are not organized on this occasion.
May 1 – Labor Day
National holiday, day off.
Most of the time, the government reschedules the weekend to make it 3 days off in a row. In 2021, May 1 falls on a Saturday, and the extra day off will be Monday, May 3. And then another weekend on May 4 and 5, but the days of April 25 and May 8 will be working days.
May 1 became an official day off in China only in 1949. During Communist China, there were grand demonstrations of workers, but that’s all gone now. May 1 has become a family holiday.
In the cities, streets are decorated with flower arrangements and concerts by guest artists and amateur performers. In some areas, parades with bands and floats are staged.
On May 1, the Chinese like to organize a cultural program for the whole family. Therefore, sights are crowded and restaurants are short of tables. Tourists are both interesting and uncomfortable at the same time.
We recommend these days just to walk around the city, feel the atmosphere. At the sights is better to go on a weekday.
Date changes – Dragon Boat Festival
National holiday, day off.
Celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, which is why this holiday is often referred to as the “double five”. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is listed as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In 2020 – June 25, in 2021 – June 14, in 2022 – June 3, in 2023 – June 22, in 2024 – June 10, in 2025 – May 31.
According to legends, in ancient times during the Warring States era, there was a minister and poet Qu Yuan who lived in the state of Chu. When the King of Chu decided to form an alliance with the kingdom of Qin, Minister Qu Yuan opposed, for which he was expelled. After 28 years, the Qin kingdom took over Chu. Qu Yuan was so depressed by this event that he committed suicide by throwing himself into the river. The common people swam down the river to fetch his body. This sad event is celebrated.
The origin of the Dragon Boat Festival is now hotly debated by historians in China. It is most likely that these events with Qiu Yuan did happen, the great ancient historian Sima Qian writes about it. But this holiday was originally different. The most plausible explanation is that it was once a celebration of the Cult of Dragons, but later with the Confucianists, the holiday changed.
It is both one of the oldest and one of the youngest holidays in China. It has been celebrated for thousands of years, but became an official holiday and day off only in 2008.
The main event of the Dragon Boat Festival is a race on the dragon boats. They are held in all major cities. This is an exclusively amateur sport; teams of rowers are formed from employees of the same company or students of the same university department.
If you find yourself in China on this day, be sure to go to the river and watch the competition.
Date changes – Mid-Autumn Festival
National holiday, day off.
It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. It is also the “Festival of the Moon,” as it is celebrated on the night of the full moon. It is one of China’s oldest festivals, the Harvest Festival, which has been greatly transformed over the millennia.
In 2020 it will be October 1, in 2021 it will be September 21, in 2022 it will be September 10, in 2023 it will be September 29, in 2024 it will be September 17, and in 2025 it will be October 6.
According to legends, there lived the mighty hero Hou Yi, who was a masterful archer. One day 10 luminaries rose over the earth and people began to suffer from heat and drought. Then Hou Yi shot down nine luminaries with his bow. For this feat, the gods rewarded him with the elixir of immortality. But Hou Yi was in no hurry to drink the elixir because he did not want to be immortal without his beloved wife Chanye.
A disciple named Pan Meng found out about the elixir and came to Hou Yi’s house when the hero was not at home. To prevent Pan Meng from getting the elixir, Chan’e drank it. In order to be closer to her husband, she chose the Moon as her place of residence. Now the main reason for celebration is the Moon’s greatest proximity to the Earth.
The main three traditions: looking at the moon at night, dancing the dragon dance and eating special “moon cakes”. The holiday for tourists is very interesting. But remember that transport in China can be congested.
October 1 – National Day of the People’s Republic of China
National holiday, three days off.
On October 1, 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed after the victory of the Communists in the Civil War.
The holiday provides for three days off. The authorities always reschedule the weekends to make it seven or nine days off in a row. It’s a “golden week.
In 2020, the weekend was from October 1 to 8.
In 2021, the weekend is October 1-7. For compensation, the days of September 26 and October 9 (both Sundays) will be working days.
In 2022, there is no decision yet. But there will likely be a weekend of October 1 through October 7. Two nearby Sundays will be made workdays.
In honor of the holiday, there are fireworks, and the streets are decorated with flags and portraits of statesmen, most notably Mao Zedong. The military parade in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is not held every year, but only on anniversaries. Just in 2019 was the 70th anniversary of the PRC, there was a grand parade. However, the next one is not expected until 2029.
Tourists are strongly advised not to visit China on these holidays. Everything is overloaded here – transportation, restaurants, stores.
Holidays are a holiday without a weekend.
Laba . Celebrated on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month. It’s also the “Day of Enlightenment.” It is the day that Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment of the mind. The main Buddhist holiday.
Lantern Festival . Celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. The Chinese make (though more often buy) a lot of red lanterns. It is customary to glue a piece of paper with a riddle to the lanterns and hide a piece of paper with the answer inside the lantern. Those who solve the riddle get presents.
Double Seven Day. It is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. It is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day.
Double Nine Day. Celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. It is customary to climb mountains, admire chrysanthemums and eat Chunyang cake.
The founding day of the CPC is July 1.
Ghost Festival . Celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. It is believed that on this day the ghosts of the dead visit our world. Another holiday of the Cult of Ancestors in China.
Have a good visit to China and read our interesting articles about this country ( list of articles below).
Festivals of China
Traditional Chinese temple. Photo by PxHere
China (People’s Republic of China, PRC; Chinese 中華人民共和國) is the third largest country in East Asia, behind Russia and Canada. It is the largest state in the world in terms of population (over 1.38 billion people).
This is a great state with an ancient culture and rich history. Emperors, pagodas, dragons, hieroglyphs – for many of us, these pictures form an idea of China. What is he really like? What does the Celestial Empire do?
China is developing at a tremendous pace. A person who was in Beijing ten or fifteen years ago, today probably would not recognize it. Shanghai, with its skyscrapers, has long resembled a modern Western city. However, even in modern China, most people remember and honor the ancient traditions, observe the rituals and celebrate the traditional holidays.
Many Chinese holidays have a long history. Although from ancient times, the Chinese were an extremely hardworking people, and worked from dawn to dawn every day, there were still some holidays in the calendar.
The Chinese had their own calendar system already in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Calendar in China has always served the economic needs of the farmer. Natural sequence of phases of the moon was taken as the basic unit of time measurement, i.e. the beginning of month necessarily coincides with a new moon, and the middle – with a full moon. No less attention is paid to the solar year. Since ancient times, the Chinese have distinguished 12 zodiacal constellations, and the signs of the zodiac have names of animals: mouse, bull, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
Since the ancient times in China there was also the counting of time according to the hexadecimal cycle, when the days (and since the beginning of the AD – years) were marked by a combination of one of the ten signs of the “trunks” and one of the 12 signs of the “branches”.
Calendar in ancient China has always been shrouded in the veil of sanctity. Each dynasty established its own chronology and, in the case of acceptance of this chronology by neighboring states, considered it a recognition of their dependence on the Chinese court.
After the collapse of the monarchy in 1911 China introduced the European calendar, but right up to the present day the lunar calendar continues to play an important role in the life of the Chinese.
There are a total of 27 holidays in this section. Green color indicates festivals, anniversaries, etc., which are important for the country, but are not holidays in the literal sense of the word. National holidays are marked in red.
New Year in China (where it is called Yuan-dan) passes rather unobtrusively. No noisy nocturnal feasts, sparkling Christmas trees and red-necked Father Frosts with bags of gifts. Only in the big department stores and shopping malls, paying tribute to Western .
The Chinese New Year – Chun Jie, meaning Spring Festival, is the most important holiday for the Chinese, and has been celebrated for more than two thousand years. It falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, between January 12 and February 19. С .
The Lantern Festival (Yuanxiaojie, Chinese trud 元宵節) is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. As early as the 10th century in China, the custom of lighting colorful lanterns on this night spread. Usually in the center of the city hung a lot of lanterns sami.
The holiday of March 8 – International Women’s Day – is not widely celebrated in the Middle Kingdom and is not the state. However, it is worth noting that on this day in China there is a shortened working day, but only for women.
Spring Festival – Tree Planting Day (植樹節) is an official holiday in China and Taiwan. Every year on March 12, the day of the death of the prominent revolutionary Sun Yat-sen (Chinese 孫逸仙, 1866-1925), the country holds mass plantings of green plants.
The Qing Ming Festival (清明節, Qing Ming Jie), a festival of purity and clarity, is associated with the onset of clear and bright days. On this day, yang and yin were believed to come into balance. The sky (yang) fertilizes the earth (yin) and new life is born. В.
Dragons are central to Chinese mythology. Unlike European dragons, usually portrayed as evil and bloodthirsty, the Chinese dragon was, as a rule, a creature of kindness, graceful, merciful to people. For this, the Chinese fought them.
Tian-hou Mazzu (Celestial Empress Mazzu, Chinese tr. 天后媽祖) is a goddess of the sea in late Chinese mythology. Her cult originated in the 10th and 11th centuries. Tian-hou is depicted seated on the waves, on the clouds or on a throne. She has two assistants: one has an arm to lean on.
In China May 1 is a public holiday. The official weekends are May 1, 2, and 3. By postponing other days off, Chinese people can rest more on May 1.The appearance of Labor Day in China can be dated to 1918, when the revolutionary int.
Every year on May 4, China celebrates a public holiday, Youth Day (Chinese 青年节), dedicated to the mass anti-imperialist movement known as the May 4 Movement.After the Paris Peace Conference (held in.
Mother’s Day is a holiday celebrated annually in China on the second Sunday in May. It is a day to remember mothers, a day to honor their hard work and selfless sacrifice for the good of their children. On Mother’s Day, the Chinese people congratulate their mothers, a.k.a., and the mothers of their children.
In 2003, Chinese authorities introduced a new annual holiday, International Nurses’ Day, on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, an Englishwoman who pioneered the modern nursing service in the 19th century.
On December 23, 1949 by Chinese government resolution June 1 was declared the International Children’s Day in China. In Chinese the holiday is called Ertung Jie – Children’s Day. From 1931 to 1949, Children’s Day in China was celebrated on April 4, however, after ob.
Duan wu tse is one of the three most important traditional holidays in China. This day is also called the holiday of the double five, the holiday of Duan yang, and the Day of the Poet. The holiday is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. According to the most common.
Father’s Day is celebrated in China on the third Sunday of June. The tradition of celebrating Father’s Day was imported from America. It is customary in the Middle Kingdom to honor parents, especially the elderly. It is believed that one of the ingredients of longevity in East Asia is op.
July 1 is celebrated in China as Education Day of the Communist Party, the leading and ruling political party of the People’s Republic of China.The Communist Party of China (CPC) was established in 1921 with the assistance of the Comintern during the rise.
The celebration of “Tian Quan Jie” takes place on the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, which is numerologically a significant day. The holiday is dedicated to the God of Heaven. It is a day of thanksgiving and prayer. All members of the family gather together for a special p.
The People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) was organized on August 1, 1927, which marks the anniversary of People’s Liberation Army Day in China every year. Today’s name is the People’s Liberation Army.
The Qi Xi Festival (七夕节) is one of the most romantic traditional Chinese holidays. It is celebrated on the evening of the 7th day of the 7th month according to the traditional lunar calendar. Hence, another name for this holiday is the Double Seven Festival (Double .
Every year, September 10 is Teachers’ Day in China. Teachers’ Day is a celebration of all education workers in the country. The decision to officially establish this holiday was made on January 21, 1985. The main purpose of the appearance in the calendar of this d.
Zhongqiu – Moon and Harvest Festival 2022 The date of the event is unique for each year. In 2022, the date is September 10.
Zhongqiu, the Moon and Harvest Festival, is celebrated in China on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. The festival falls in mid-autumn, which is why it was known as Zhongqiu (mid-autumn) in ancient times. The holiday originated in the Tang Dynasty and is important.
On this day China celebrates Confucius Birthday, or National Teacher’s Day. Chinese people have been honoring Confucius, the ancient philosopher who had a tremendous influence on the worldview of the entire Chinese civilization for over two and a half thousand years. Con.
The main state holiday of China and the national day in the country – the anniversary of foundation of the People’s Republic of China (National Day in China) is celebrated annually on the 1st of October. It was on this day in 1949 at a rally in Tiananmen Square in .
The Chunyang holiday is the holiday of the double nine. It falls on the ninth day of the ninth month on the lunar calendar. In ancient times, this day was considered lucky.On this day the people preserve the custom of climbing the mountain (it is called dengao – climbing.
Every year on November 8, since 2000, China has celebrated Journalists’ Day. It became the third widely celebrated professional holiday in China after Nurses’ Day and Teachers’ Day.It should be said that this professional holiday is from.
Demography, demography… Who, if not a Chinese person, knows better than others about the problems of this kind? The policy of the leadership of the People’s Republic of China, aimed at regulating the birth rate, aimed at combating overpopulation, has entailed.
Dongzhi (冬至, literally: “Peak of Winter”) is a winter solstice festival in China and countries of Chinese cultural influence. It is one of the most important holidays of the annual cycle.Every year the winter solstice falls between 21 and 22.
Help in creating this section: Svetlana Britova, Mikhail Khoroshev
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