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Chinese National Holidays and Festivals

 

New Year’s Day:

New Year's Day is a grand occasion for the Chinese people. They celebrate their 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. Various festive programs are presented on TV, and organizations and schools hold parties to let everyone enjoy 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.

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Spring Festival:

Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday and is held on the first day of the first lunar month. Lasting for two weeks, the spring festival is regarded by the Chinese people as the grandest and most important annual festival, similar to the ways Christmas is celebrated in Christian countries. The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old. Full of rich and colorful activities it is an event for the Chinese people to celebrate family reunion. 

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Writing Spring Festival Scrolls:

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.

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Qingming Festival:

The English for Qingming Festival is 'Pure Brightness' or 'Tomb-Sweeping Day', from which we can see that this festival serves as both a solar term and a Chinese 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 departed loved ones.

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May Day:

May Day, also known as Labor Day, is on May 1st, consistent with the worldwide International Workers Day. In China, a variety of jubilant assemblies and amusement activities are held in parks, theaters, and on plazas. In the evening, entertainment programs are broadcast over television, and several outstanding laborers and model workers are invited to participate in the evening’s programs.

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Dragon Boat Festival:

Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the Chinese 5th lunar month. Many beautiful and popular stories surround 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.


Dragon Boat Race in Jimei 

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Mid-Autumn Festival:

Falling on the 15th day of the Chinese 8th lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival signifies a time for family reunions to the Chinese people, thus it is one of the most important traditional festivals. There are many legends about the origin of this festival. Admiring the full moon and eating moon cakes are the traditional activities held on this day.

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National Day:

October 1st is China's National Day. It is a festival of great importance to the people nationwide and they celebrate it with great merriment and national pride. 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 of the holiday, resulting in a seven-day vacation for the people.  In addition, because of the great celebrations that occur during the week, it is regarded as another Golden Week by the Chinese people. It is a time when they can visit some long-cherished tourist attractions or doing other things people enjoy.