Chinese National Day

What is China National Day?

Chinese National Day is celebrated on October 1st every year to commemorate the founding of People’s Republic of China. On that day, lots of large-scaled activities are held nationwide. The 7-day holiday from Oct. 1st to 7th is called 'Golden Week', during which a large number of Chinese people go traveling around the country.

2019 Chinese National Day Holiday Schedule

Oct. 1
Oct. 2
 Oct. 3
Oct. 4
Oct. 5
Oct. 6
Oct. 7
3 days' legal holiday deferred holidays for Sep. 28 (Sat)  normal weekend advance leave for Oct. 12 (Sat)

* Note: The holiday dates are Oct. 1st to 7th 2019, while people will be on duty on  Sep. 28th (Sat) and Oct. 12th (Sat).

What is National Day Golden Week holiday in China?

Tiananmen Tower on Festival
Beijing Tiananmen Tower on National Day

The legal holiday for Chinese National Day is 3 days in mainland China, 2 days in Macau and 1 day in Hong Kong. In mainland, the 3 days are usually connected with the weekends ahead and after, hence people can enjoy a 7-day holiday from Oct. 1st to 7th, which is the so-called 'Golden Week'. 

Why is it called Golden Week?

Falling in autumn season with clear weather and comfortable temperatures, Chinese National Day holiday is a golden time for travel. It is the longest public holiday in China besides the Chinese New Year. The weeklong holiday enables both short-distance and long-distance trips, resulting in a boom of tourist revenue, as well as an overwhelming tourist crowd.

Origin of China National Day

October 1st 1949 was the memorial day for the founding of the People’s Republic of China. One thing should be noted is that the PRC was not founded on that day. Actually the Chinese independence day was September 21st 1949. The grand ceremony held at Tiananmen Square on October 1st 1949 was to celebrate the forming of the Central People's Government of the brand new country. Later on October 2nd 1949, the new government passed the ‘Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China’ and declared October 1 to be the Chinese National Day. Ever since 1950, every October 1st has been grandly celebrated by Chinese people.

Oct. 1st Military Review & Parade in Beijing

On the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, altogether 14 military reviews have been held on October 1st since 1949. The most representative and influential ones include the military reviews on the founding ceremony, the 5th anniversary, 10th anniversary, 35th anniversary, 50th anniversary and 60th anniversary. Those impressive military reviews have attracted people from both home and abroad to watch. Following the military reviews are usually huge parades by common people to express their patriotic feelings. The Military Review & Parade is now held in a small scale every 5 years and in a large scale every 10 years.

 Other Celebration Activities

Other activities like flag-raising ceremonies, dance and song shows, firework displays and painting and calligraphy exhibitions are also held to celebrate the National Day. If one loves shopping, National Day holiday is a great time, for many shopping malls offer big discounts during the holiday.

Celebration on Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Celebration on Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Festooned Vehicles on Tiananmen Square
Festooned Vehicles

Golden Week Travel Tips

During the Golden Week, lots of Chinese go traveling. It leads to a sea of people at attraction sites; train tickets difficult to get; flight tickets cost more than usual; and hotel rooms in short supply…

To make your travel in China easier and more comfortable, here are some tips for reference:

1. If possible, avoid traveling during the Golden Week. One can make it just before or after the “crowding period”. During those time periods, there are usually fewer tourists, the cost is comparatively lower, and the visit is more satisfying.

2. If one really needs to travel during the Chinese National Day holiday, try to avoid the first two days and the last day of the Golden Week. Because they are the busiest time for transportation system, when the flight tickets are highest and train and long-distance bus tickets are hardest to buy. Also, the first two days are usually the most crowded at the attraction sites, especially the famous ones.

3. Avoid hot destinations. These places are always crowded of visitors during the Golden Week. Choose some not so famous tourism cities and attractions, where there are fewer visitors and one can enjoy the scene more leisurely.

4. Book flight / train tickets and hotel rooms in advance. There may be more discounts for flight tickets if one books earlier. For trains in China, the tickets are available 60 days prior to departure. The thing is the train tickets may be booked up in minutes once available, so please be prepared. The hotel rooms in hot travel destinations are also in demand. In case there is no place to stay, one should better book them in advance too. If one happens to book rooms upon arrival, try your luck at some business hotels. 

Bustling Nanjing Road on National Day
Bustling Nanjing Road, Shanghai
Crowded Railway Station during National Day Holiday
Crowded Railway Station during the Holiday

 More Tips on China National Day

 Useful Booking Tools:
China Flights              China Trains  

 Further Reading:

2019 / 2020 / 2021 China Public Holiday Calendar is available for you to know the schedule of all holidays in China and better make your travel plan.
Train Travel in China during Holidays

- Last modified on Sep. 08, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Chinese National Day
Asked by Katha from GERMANY | Sep. 21, 2019 03:59Reply
National Day in Chongqing
Any tips and advice what to do on Oct 1st in Chongqing? Where are festivities planned which can be joined by tourists as well?
Asked by JIANG | Sep. 20, 2019 23:40Reply
Is there any foreigner going to travel to Guizhou province during Chinese National Day?
If you go there, and can not speak Chinese, maybe i can help you.
Asked by Linda from USA | Sep. 20, 2019 18:13Reply
Arriving in Beijing on Oct 1 in the afternoon. Will we have trouble finding taxi to our hotel?
Do taxis charge extra for the holiday?
Answers (1)
Answered by John from CHINA | Sep. 20, 2019 23:15

very easy. You don't need to give them any extra fee.
Asked by Rick from USA | Sep. 05, 2019 07:12Reply
Can a foreigner watch the parade?
I work in Beijing and was wondering if I can watch the parade on October 1. How can I do it and ensure I get a good spot?

for example, in new york city to watch the ball drop for new years day, people wait around 3PM even though it doesn't drop until 12AM.
Answers (2)
Answered by Ferrara from USA | Sep. 07, 2019 06:18

I also have same question!! I’m going to be there. Is it open to public?? W
Answered by Gabriel from CANADA | Sep. 08, 2019 20:02

No, you cannot. Tourists can only see the Television Direct Transmission.
Asked by George from GREECE | Aug. 17, 2019 01:18Reply
Shenzhen/Guangzhou electronic markets.
How about electronic's market this period? In Shenzhen and Guangzhou they gonna be open, or lots of seller maybe gonna be in vacation as well?
Answers (1)
Answered by William from GERMANY | Aug. 18, 2019 19:52

Don't worry. Generally speaking, the markets still open during that China National Day Holiday.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)