If you are planning a trip to China soon, or even otherwise, we say take a look at their top grandest, most colorful and hugely popular festivals, which would set you in a festive mood too.
Traditional Chinese festivals play a major role in its rich culture and long history. As the Land of Dragons is a vast country and there are many different ethnic groups, every province has its unique traditions and various celebrations. Even on the same festival, some locals follow different customs. If you finally make it here, make sure you participate in one of these festivals as you can see the different side of the country with its authentic culture, food and traditions. Below is a list of the major Chinese festivals:
Chinese Spring Festival
Chinese Spring Festival is the grandest and most important festival in China. This traditional festival already has a history of more than 4,000 years. The festival begins on the first day of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day of the same month. It is the time for the whole families to get together and enjoy delicious foods and happy times, a similar one like Christmas holiday to the westerners.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated the 15th day of the first lunar month and usually ends the Spring Festival period. There are usually lantern parades which are truly spectacular and unmarried girls often throw mandarin oranges into a body of water in order to find a partner before Chinese Valentines’ Day, (7th day of the 7th month in lunar calendar).
Middle-autumn Festival is originated from ancient sacrifice rite for goodness of moon. This festival was developed into a tradition in the Tang dynasty. In Chinese people’s opinion, Aug 15 on Chinese lunar calendar is a date when the fullest moon comes in a year. At the night of the date, Chinese people look the clean and bright full moon as a symbol of reunion. Especial for people who have go out from home for a long time, they use the full moon to pray the goodness for future reunion and express that they are missing their hometown and families.
The traditional Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the Chinese Spring Festival. The main activity on the Lantern Festival is to enjoy beautiful lanterns of different sizes and shapes at night, another important part is eating Yuanxiao, small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour.
Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, falls on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month. This day people will celebrate it through dragon-boat races, especially in China’s southern areas, another important thing is to eat Zong Zi (glutinous rice wrapped with reed leaves).
National Day of China
It is one of the National festivals of China and is celebrated every year on October 1, with a great patriotic fervor and zeal. This day marks the celebration of one’s motherland and an individual’s love for his country. Several functions take place on this day. All the politicians and other dignitaries of all the provinces of China take part in flag hoisting ceremonies.
Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day in English, falls on one day between April 4 and 6 each year. This is the most important day for offering sacrifices. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased.
The New Year’s Day is a grand festival worldwide, China is no exception. In China they call it Yuandan Festival, “Yuan” means “at the beginning”. “Dan” means “day”, so joined together the words mean “first day of a year.” Chinese celebrate the New Year like people all over the world. All kinds of festive programs are broadcast on TV, many companies and institutions hold parties, bringing everyone into the jubilant atmosphere of the festival.
Celebrated all around the world as International Worker’s Day, workers in China get the 1st May off. If you can avoid it, it’s advisable not to travel domestically during the week around May 1st. Travel fares double and triple and advance bookings must be made weeks, even months ahead for international travel.