An overview of major Chinese festivals and holidays

August 11, 2010 | Posted by Sarah

A temple fair in Beijing during Chinese New Year, above.

In China, a wide variety of festivals and holidays are observed, both traditional ones with long history and modern ones that attracting more and more fans.

Following are the most popular festivals celebrated in China:

1. Chinese New Year

Also called the Spring Festival, this is definitely the most important festival in China. Most people will enjoy a seven-day holiday and the celebration lasts for more than two weeks, which begins from the eve of the Spring Festival. Chinese celebrated the festival according to the lunar calendar, that is, on the first day of the first lunar month. But the date of solar calendar is not fixed, usually in February or March.

2. The Lantern Festival

This festival is on the 15th day after the Spring Festival. It can be seen as the continuation and end of the celebration of the New Year. It is called the Lantern Festival because traditionally, there will be lantern shows on that day. Tangyuan, a traditional Chinese food is eaten on this holiday.

3. Tomb Sweeping Day

It is on April 4th, 5th or 6th. This is a holiday on which we hold a memorial ceremony for the dead.

4. International Labor Day

It is an international holiday on May 1st. Chinese laborers enjoy a three-day holiday.

5. Dragon Boat Festival

This holiday was set up in memory of a patriotic Chinese poet, Qu Yuan. It is on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the lunar calendar. Dragon boat competition is usually held on that day. Besides, this is the day for people to eat Zongzi.

6. Mid-autumn Festival

Observed on the 15th of the 8th lunar month, it's also known as the Moon Festival. It is a holiday for families to gather together and watch the full moon. Moon cakes are the most typical food on this holiday.

7. National Day

It is on October 1st, to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st, 1949.

Besides, there are more and more western holidays observed in China, especially among young people, such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day and so on. Anyway, holidays in China basically aim to give families and friends a chance to gather together and share a happy time.

Among the above festivals, Chinese New Year, The Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival are all traditional festivals that have been celebrated for a long time. They all have their own origins, legends and special ways to celebrate. So the brief introductions are not enough. Later, we will talk about them one by one in detail.

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