Public holidays in China

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There are currently seven official public holidays in China. Each year's holidays are announced about three weeks before the start of the year by the General Office of the State Council. A notable feature of mainland Chinese holidays is that weekends are usually swapped with the weekdays next to the actual holiday to create a longer vacation period. The public holiday pattern, described as "notoriously complicated" by a Wall Street Journal journalist,[1] is therefore less predictable than most developed countries.

Date English name Chinese name Pinyin Dates (2014) [2]
January 1 New Year 元旦 Yuándàn Wed 1 January
1st day of 1st lunar month Chinese New Year[3] 春节 Chūnjié Fri 31 January - Thu 6 February[4]
5th solar term (April 4 or April 5) Qingming Festival 清明节 Qīngmíng jié Mon 7 April[5]
May 1 Labour Day 劳动节 Láodòng jié Thu 1-Sat 3 May[6]
5th day of 5th lunar month Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 Duānwǔ jié Mon 2 June [7]
15th day of 8th lunar month Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié Mon 8 September[7]
October 1 National Day 国庆节 Guóqìng jié Wed 1-Tue 7 October[8]
National Day in 2004, Beihai Park.

Reforms[edit]

There was a major reform in 2008, abolishing the Labour Day Golden Week and adding three traditional Chinese holidays (Qingming Festival, Duanwu Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival).[9]

From at least 2000 until this reform, the Spring Festival public holiday began on New Year's Day itself. From 2008 to 2013 it was shifted back by one day to begin on Chinese New Year's Eve. In 2014, New Year's Eve became a working day again, which provoked hostile discussion by netizens and academics.[1][10]

Transferred holidays[edit]

In all these holidays, if the holiday lands on a weekend, the days will be reimbursed after the weekend.

The Chinese New Year and National Day holidays are three days long. The week-long holidays on May (Labor) Day and National Day began in 2000, as a measure to increase and encourage holiday spending. The resulting seven-day holidays are called "Golden Weeks" (黄金周), and have become peak seasons for travel and tourism. In 2008, the Labor Day holiday was shortened to one day to reduce travel rushes to just twice a year, and instead three traditional Chinese holidays were added.

Generally, if there is a three day holiday, the government will declare it to be a seven day holiday. However, citizens are required to work during a nearby weekend. Businesses and schools would then treat the affected Saturdays and Sundays as the weekdays that the weekend has been swapped with. Schedules are released late in the year prior and might change during the year.

2010 example[edit]

The following is a graphical schematic of how the weekend shifting works.

Additional holidays for specific social groups[edit]

In addition to these holidays, applicable to the whole population, there are four official public holidays applicable to specific sections of the population:

Date English name Chinese name Pinyin Applicable to
March 8 International Women's Day 国际妇女节 Guójì fùnǚ jié Women (half-day)
May 4 Youth Day 青年节 Qīngnián jié Youth from the age of 14 to 28 (half-day)
June 1 Children's Day 六一儿童节 Liùyī értóng jié Children below the age of 14 (1 day)
August 1 Army Day 建军节 Jiàn jūn jié Military personnel in active service (half-day)

The closeness of Labor Day and Youth Day resulted in an unexpectedly long break for schools in 2008 - the Youth Day half-holiday entitlement had been largely forgotten because it has been subsumed into the Golden Week.

Traditional holiday scheme[edit]

Date English name Local name Pinyin Remarks
January 1 New Year 元旦 Yuándàn
1st day of 1st lunar month Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) 春节 Chūnjié Based on Chinese calendar
15th day of 1st lunar month Lantern Festival 元宵节 Yuánxiāo jié Based on Chinese calendar
2nd day of 2nd lunar month Zhonghe Festival (Dragon Raising its Head) 中和节 Zhōng hé jié Based on Chinese calendar
March 8 International Women's Day 国际妇女节 Guójì fùnǚ jié
March 12 Arbor Day 植树节 Zhíshù jié Also known as National Tree Planting Day (全民义务植树日 Quánmín yìwù zhíshù rì)
5th Solar Term (usually April 4–6) Qingming Festival (Chinese Memorial Day) 清明节 Qīngmíng jié Based on the Jieqi Qingming.
May 1 Labour Day 劳动节 Láodòng jié International Workers' Day
May 4 Youth Day 青年节 Qīngnián jié Commemorating the May Fourth Movement
June 1 Children's Day 六一儿童节 Liùyī értóng jié
5th day of 5th lunar month Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwujie) 端午节 Duānwǔ jié Based on Chinese calendar
July 1 CPC Founding Day 建党节 Jiàndǎng jié Formation of 1st National Congress on July 1921
July 11 China National Maritime Day 中国航海日 Zhōngguó hánghǎi rì The anniversary of Zheng He's first voyage
August 1 Army Day 建军节 Jiàn jūn jié Nanchang Uprising (南昌起义 Nánchāng qǐyì) on August 1, 1927
7th day of 7th lunar month Double Seven Festival 七夕 Qīxì The Chinese Valentine's Day, based on Chinese calendar
15th day of 7th lunar month Spirit Festival (Ghost Festival) 中元节 Zhōng yuán jié Based on Chinese calendar
15th day of 8th lunar month Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) 中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié Based on Chinese calendar
September 3 Victory over Japan Day Honoring the Allied victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War in the Pacific (new holiday established 2014)
September 30 Memorial Day Honoring all the fallen of the country right before National Day, new holiday established in 2014
October 1 National Day 国庆节 Guóqìng jié Founding of PRC on October 1, 1949
9th day of 9th lunar month Chongyang Festival 重阳节 Chóngyáng jié Based on Chinese calendar.
December 13 Nanking Massacre Memorial Day New holiday established in 2014 to honor the thousands of Chinese lives lost during the events of the 1938 Nanking Massacre

Ethnic Minorities Holidays[edit]

There are public holidays celebrate by certain ethnic minorities in certain regions, which are decided by local governments. The following are holidays at province-level divisions, and there are more at lower level divisions.

Date English name Local name Chinese name Pinyin Ethnic Groups Remarks
1st day of Tibetan year Losar ལོ་གསར 洛萨/藏历新年 Luò sà / zànglì xīnnián Tibetan 7 days in Tibet
30.6 of Tibetan calendar Sho Dun ༄༅། ཞོ་སྟོན། 雪顿节 Xuě dùn jié Tibetan 1 day in Tibet
1.10 of Islamic calendar Eid ul-Fitr 开斋节/肉孜节 Kāizhāi jié / ròu zī jié Hui, Uyghur and other Muslims 2 days for all in Ningxia; 1 day for Muslims (only) in Xinjiang
10.12 of Islamic calendar Eid al-Adha 古尔邦节 Gǔ'ěrbāng jié Hui, Uyghur and other Muslims 2 days for all in Ningxia; 3 days for Muslims, 1 day for others in Xinjiang

Novel holidays[edit]

Some Chinese young adults have begun to celebrate 11 November as Singles Day (Chinese: 光棍节; pinyin: guāng gùn jié) because of the many ones (1s) in the date.[11]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hite, Brittany (2013). "China’s 2014 Holiday Schedule: Still Complicated". China Realtime. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  2. ^ 国务院办公厅关于2014年 部分节假日安排的通知 (in Chinese). General Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-11.  Issued 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ The authorities always refer to this as 'Spring Festival' since they recognize the Gregorian calendar.
  4. ^ Sun 26 January and Sat 8 February are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  5. ^ The traditional date of the festival falls on a Saturday, so the public holiday has been transferred to Monday.
  6. ^ Sun 4 is a working day.
  7. ^ a b The authorities combine it with the weekend to make a 3-day holiday.
  8. ^ Sun 28 Sept and Sat 11 Oct are working days.
  9. ^ Xinhuanet.com "Xinhuanet.com." How will people spend China's 1st Qingming Festival holiday?. Retrieved on 2008-04-04.
  10. ^ Reuters Shanghai (2013-12-12). "China's revised 2014 holiday schedule sparks public ire". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  11. ^ "Thinking Chinese - A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events?". Retrieved August 29, 2012. 

References[edit]

  1. "Chinese Holidays" (in Chinese). Xinhua.