National Holidays in China

National holidays in China are those festivals designated by the Chinese government that everyone gets to enjoy. Everyone has the right to have the appointed days off work. These holidays fall into two types: those that all citizens enjoy nationwide, and those that some citizens enjoy. The following is the general introduction to Chinese national holidays.

 New Year's Day         Free New Year eCards
New Year's Day is a grand occasion for the Chinese people. They celebrate the New Year like people all over the world. Since ancient times, the day has been called 'Yuandan' by the Chinese. 'Yuan' means 'at the beginning'. 'Dan' means 'day', so joined together the words mean 'first day of a year'. For 3,000 years, China has greeted Yuandan with joyous ceremonies.

Due to the different longitudes upon which countries lie in the world, the time of the celebration varies. China is the twelfth country to celebrate the event and the people are rewarded with one day's vacation. All kinds of festive programs are presented on TV, and organizations and schools hold parties to let everyone enter into the jubilant atmosphere of the festival. Sincere good wishes are reflected by people's smiles and wonderful performances at parties. Great hopes for an excellent year are embedded in everyone's mind.

 Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

Writting Spring Festival Scrolls
Writting Spring Festival Scrolls
Held on the first day of the first lunar month and lasting for two weeks, the Chinese New Year is regarded by the Chinese people as the grandest and most important annual event, similar in many ways to Christmas in predominantly Christian countries. It is an event for the people to celebrate family reunion and is full of rich and colorful activities.

Among all the customs and activities that people kept and held, pasting Spring Festival scrolls, the character 'Fu', and paper-cut pictures, setting off firecrackers and fireworks, paying New Year visits, and eating jiaozi have been handed down by Chinese people from generation to generation. To everyone the festival is of great significance.

 Women's Day

Falling on March 8th, Women's Day is a festival for women worldwide. It is celebrated since 1975 for the purpose of remembering the women's struggle for getting the reasonable right and peace.

In China, the government designated it as a national holiday for women who are rewarded with a half day off on Mar. 8th. Children respect their mother by doing housework and husbands prepare dinner and presents for their wives. In some places, organizations and schools hold mountain-climbing competitions to add a festive atmosphere or communication meetings to talk about their life and work. Flowers are presented to women by students, children, or husbands.

 Arbor Day
Many countries have Arbor Day but on different days. China's Arbor Day falls on March 12th every year to remember the death of Dr. Sun Yat Sen who emphasized on the construction of forest industry. After the birth of New China, Chinese leaders paid great attention to forestation projects. In February 1979, the Chinese State Council suggested that March 12th be Chinese Arbor Day. Since then, Chinese citizens actively plant trees as their legal obligation. The ecological condition is improved a lot by their efforts.

 Qingming Festival
Its English name is 'Pure Brightness' or 'Tomb-Sweeping Day', from which we can see that it serves as both a solar term and a traditional festival. Falling on April 4th or 5th of the solar calendar, it signifies the fact that the days are becoming warm and bright. It was the custom in ancient China for people to go out on this day and sweep the tombs clean of debris in memory of the departed.

 May Day
As a day for the working people worldwide, it was established on May 1st in 1886. In China, all kinds of jubilant assemblies and amusement activities are held in parks, theaters, and on plazas. In the evening, entertainment programs are held on TV, and some model laborers are invited to the evenings.

 Youth Day
Youth Day is an event that held for the youngsters over fourteen years old on May 4th. Its purpose is to encourage young people to study hard in order to contribute to the nation. Schools usually organize social events for students or sodalities for students communicating with each other on that day. All the young people are summoned to study from the 'Youth Medal' (Medals rewarded for the model youth) winners and learn their stories.

 International Nurse Day
International Nurse Day is set up to commemorate the great contribution made by Florence Nightingale, the forerunner of nursing. In 1912, the International Council of Nurses designated May 12th, the birthday of Nightingale, as International Nurse Day, in order to encourage nurses to learn from her and inherit the glorious tradition of nursing.


 Children's Day
Celebrated on Jun. 1st, Children's Day is a festival for children all over the world. Every year, when the day comes, the whole nation is full of children's smiling faces, songs and great joy.

Parents usually take their children to visit places of great interest thus helping them learn more about Chinese history and culture. Schools organize the showing of excellent children's films. In kindergartens, children present their special skills such as singing and dancing to parents and teachers. Besides, some children are lucky to receive special gifts from their elderships.

 Dragon Boat Festival

Boat Race, Dragon Boat Festival
Boat Race, Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the Chinese 5th lunar month. Many beautiful stories all suggest the origin of this festival. But the most popular one is the legend of Qu Yuan who was a patriotic poet living in the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC). On this day, Chinese people like to eat Zongzi and race dragon boats.

 Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party
In May, 1938, Chairman Mao suggested that July 1st be the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party to mark the first central committee of the Communist Party of China held in July 1921. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the birth of the Chinese Communist Party every year to remind them that without the Communist Party, there would be no precious happy life today. 

 Army Day
Falling on Aug. 1st, Army Day is set aside to commemorate the contribution that the PLA has made to China both past and present. Chinese leaders and public figures go to veterans' homes to show their great concern for them, and symposia and get-togethers are held for the soldiers on that day. In some places, soldiers and their dependents are rewarded with the opportunity to visit tourist attractions for free while some are presented with beneficial books to mark the occasion.

 Teachers' Day
Teachers are praised as the engineers of human spirit. In order to carry forward the fine tradition of respecting teachers and valuing education, the Chinese Government designated that Teachers' Day fall on September 10th every year. The reason to choose this day is because when the fall semester begins, a fine studious atmosphere will be created if activities of respecting teachers and valuing education are held.

 Mid-Autumn Festival
Falling on the 15th day of the Chinese 8th lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival means family reunion to Chinese people, thus it is one of the most important traditional festivals. There are many beautiful legends about the origin of this festival. Admiring the full moon and eating moon cakes are the traditional activities held on this day.
Moon Cakes, Mid-Autumn Festival
Moon Cakes, Traditional Food of
Mid-Autumn Festival
Tourists in Tiananmen Square during the National Day
Tourists in Tiananmen Square 
during the National Day
 National Day 
Oct. 1st is China's National Day. It is a festival of great importance to the people nationwide and they celebrate it with great felicitation. In the early morning, numerous people arrive at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to see the ceremonial raising of the national flag. This is followed by a great ceremonial review of troops on the Tiananmen Square and various festive activities are held in different regions. When evening comes, fireworks are set off to illuminate the sky brightly and gallantly.

In 1999, the Chinese government decided that the three days designated for the National Day celebration be combined with the two weekends on either side, thus giving people a seven-day vacation. Also because of the great indulgences during the week, it is regarded as another Golden Week for the Chinese people when they can go out to visit some long-cherished tourist attractions or doing other things people like to do.

 Journalists' Day
Falling on November 8th, Journalists' Day is set up to praise the hard work of journalists. The day is celebrated to acknowledge the prominent achievement of journalists in promoting the development of China's journalism.

2023 / 2024 / 2025 China Public Holiday Calendar

- Last updated on Nov. 11, 2022 by Brenda Lian -
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