Public holidays in China
There are currently seven official public holidays on Mainland 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 holiday period.
|Date||Length (without weekends)||English name||Chinese name (Simplified)||Pinyin||Remarks|
|1 January||1 day||New Year's Day||元旦||Yuándàn|
|1st day of 1st Lunisolar month||3 days (Chinese New Year's Eve, 1st and 2nd days of 1st Lunisolar month)||Spring Festival[a] (aka Chinese New Year)||春节||Chūnjié||Usually occurs in late January or early February，the most important holiday， Celebrating the start of a new year|
|5 April(4 or 6 April in some years)||1 day||Tomb-Sweeping Day||清明节||Qīngmíng jié||Occurs about 15 days after the March Equinox; day for paying respect to one's ancestors|
|1 May||1 day||Labour Day||劳动节||Láodòng jié||International Workers' Day|
|5th day of 5th Lunisolar month||1 day||Dragon Boat Festival||端午节||Duānwǔ jié||Usually occurs in June; commemoration of the ancient poet Qu Yuan|
|15th day of 8th Lunisolar month||1 day||Mid-Autumn Festival||中秋节||Zhōngqiū jié||Usually occurs in September; important autumn celebration of harvest and togetherness|
|1 October||3 days||National Day||国庆节||Guóqìng jié||Commemorating the formal proclamation of the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949|
Festivals in China have been around since the Qin dynasty around 221–206 BC. During the more prosperous Tang dynasty from AD 618–907, festivals involved less sacrifice and mystery to more entertainment. Culminating to the modern era Between the 1920s until around the 1970s, the Chinese began observing two sets of holidays, which were the traditional and what became "official", celebrating the accomplishments of the communist regime. There was then 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). 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. However, since 2015, Chinese New Year's Eve is usually swapped with nearby weekends so that people need not work on Chinese New Year's Eve.
Holidays in China are complicated and are one of the least predictable among developing nations. 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 or eight-day (if Mid-Autumn Festival is near National 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 three days to reduce travel rushes to just twice a year, and instead, three traditional Chinese holidays were added.
Generally, if there is a three-day or four-day (if Mid-Autumn Festival is near National Day) holiday, the government will declare it to be a seven-day or eight-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.
The following is a graphical schematic of how the weekend shifting works.
Weekend shifting scheme (since 2014)
Shift the Saturdays and Sundays nearby to make a 7-day holiday. People may need to work for 6 or 7 continuous days before or after the holiday.
National Day (not near Mid-Autumn Festival)
Shift the Saturdays and Sundays nearby to make a 7-day holiday. The holiday is from 1 to 7 October. People may need to work for 6 or 7 continuous days before or after the holiday.
New Year, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Labour Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival (not near National Day)
- Wednesday: No weekend shifting. The holiday is only 1 day long. This is to prevent people from working for 7 continuous days since 2014. Sometimes shift the Sundays nearby to make a 4-day holiday. People may need to work for 6 continuous days after the holiday.
- Tuesday or Thursday: Shift the Saturdays and Sundays nearby to make a 3-day holiday. People may need to work for 6 continuous days before or after the holiday.
- Saturday or Sunday: The public holiday is transferred to Monday.
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|
|8 March||International Women's Day||国际妇女节||Guójì fùnǚ jié||Women (half-day)|
|4 May||Youth Day||青年节||Qīngnián jié||Youth from the age of 14 to 28 (half-day)|
|1 June||Children's Day||六一儿童节||Liùyī értóng jié||Children below the age of 14 (half-day)|
|1 August||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
|Date||English name||Local name||Pinyin||Remarks|
|1 January||New Year||元旦||Yuándàn||Also the day of the establishment of the first Chinese Republic|
|1st day of 1st Lunisolar month||Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)||春节||Chūnjié||Based on Chinese calendar. Holidays last seamlessly, two full weeks, up to the Lantern Festival (see below).|
|15th day of 1st Lunisolar month||Lantern Festival||元宵节||Yuánxiāo jié||Based on Chinese calendar|
|2nd day of 2nd Lunisolar month||Zhonghe Festival (Dragon Raising its Head)||中和节||Zhōng hé jié||Based on Chinese calendar|
|8 March||International Women's Day||国际妇女节||Guójì fùnǚ jié|
|12 March||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 4–6 April)||Qingming Festival (Chinese Memorial Day)||清明节||Qīngmíng jié||Based on the Qingming solar term.|
|1 May||Labour Day||劳动节||Láodòng jié||International Workers' Day|
|4 May||Youth Day||青年节||Qīngnián jié||Commemorating the 1919 May Fourth Movement|
|1 June||Children's Day||六一儿童节||Liùyī értóng jié|
|5th day of 5th Lunisolar month||Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwujie)||端午节||Duānwǔ jié||Based on Chinese calendar|
|1 July||Chinese Communist Party Founding Day||建党节||Jiàndǎng jié||Formation of 1st National Congress in July 1921|
|11 July||China National Maritime Day||中国航海日||Zhōngguó hánghǎi rì||The anniversary of Zheng He's first voyage|
|1 August||People's Liberation Army Day||建军节||Jiànjūn jié||Anniversary of the Nanchang Uprising on 1 August 1927|
|7th day of 7th Lunisolar month||Double Seven Festival||七夕||Qīxī||The Chinese Valentine's Day, based on Chinese calendar|
|15th day of 7th Lunisolar month||Spirit Festival (Ghost Festival)||中元节||Zhōng yuán jié||Based on Chinese calendar|
|15th day of 8th Lunisolar month||Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)||中秋节||Zhōngqiū jié||Based on Chinese calendar|
|3 September||Victory over Japan Day||中国人民抗日战争胜利纪念日||Zhōngguó Rénmín Kàngrì Zhànzhēng Shènglì jìniàn rì||Honoring the Allied victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War in the Pacific (new holiday established 2014)|
|30 September||Martyrs' Day||烈士纪念日||Lièshì jìniàn rì||Honoring all the fallen of the country right before National Day, new holiday established in 2014|
|1 October||National Day||国庆节||Guóqìng jié||Founding of PRC on 1 October 1949|
|10 October||Wuchang Uprising||武昌起义||Wǔchāng Qǐyì||Commemoration of the anti-monarch uprising against the Qing which began the Xinhai Revolution|
|9th day of 9th Lunisolar month||Chongyang Festival||重阳节||Chóngyáng jié||Based on Chinese calendar.|
|13 December||Nanking Massacre Memorial Day||南京大屠杀死难者国家公祭日||Nánjīng dà túshā sǐnàn zhě guójiā gōngjì rì||New holiday established in 2014 to honor the thousands of Chinese lives lost during the events of the 1937 Nanking Massacre.|
Ethnic minorities' holidays
There are public holidays celebrated by certain ethnic minorities in certain regions, which are decided by local governments. The following are holidays at the provincial level.
|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 in Ningxia; 1 day in Xinjiang|
|10.12 of Islamic calendar||Eid al-Adha||古尔邦节||Gǔ'ěrbāng jié||Hui, Uyghur and other Muslims||2 days in Ningxia; 3 days in Xinjiang|
|3rd day of the 3rd Lunisolar month||Sam Nyied Sam||Sam Nyied Sam||三月三||Sān Yuè Sān||Zhuang||3 days in Guangxi|
The following are traditional holidays at the prefectural level, and there are more at lower-level divisions, i.e. county-level.
|Date||Celebrating location||English name||Chinese name||Pinyin||Ethnic groups||Remarks|
|6th day of the 6th Lunisolar month||Qiannan and Qianxinan||Liuyueliu||六月六||Liù Yuè Liù||Bouyei||1 day in Qiannan and Qianxinan|
|8th day of the 8th Lunisolar month||Qiannan and Qianxinan||Bayueba||八月八||Bā Yuè Bā||Miao||1 day in Qiannan and Qianxinan|
|10th day of the 9th Lunisolar month||Dehong||阿露窝罗节||Ā Lù Wō Luó jié||Achang||2 days in Dehong|
|1st day of Tibetan year||Dêqên, Garzê, Gannan and Ngawa||Losar||藏历新年||Luò sà / zànglì xīnnián||Tibetan||3 days in Dêqên, Garzê, Gannan and Ngawa|
|24th day of the 6th Lunisolar month||Honghe||矻扎扎节||Kū Zhā Zhā jié||Hani||2 days in Honghe|
|24th day of the 6th Lunisolar month||Chuxiong, Liangshan and Honghe||Fire Festival||火把节||Huǒ Bǎ jié||Yi||5 days in Chuxiong, Liangshan and 3 days in Honghe|
|20 September||Nujiang||阔时节||Kuò Shí jié||Lisu||3 days in Nujiang|
|15th day of the 1st Lunisolar month||Dehong||Manau Festival||目瑙纵歌节||Mùnǎo Zónggē jié||Jingpo||2 days in Dehong|
|5th day of the 5th Lunisolar month||Wenshan||闹兜阳||Nào Dōuyáng||Miao||3 days in Wenshan, often celebrated together with Dragon Boat Festival|
|13 April||Dehong and Xishuangbanna||Water-Sprinkling Festival or Songkran||泼水节||Pō Shuǐ jié||Dai||2 days in Dehong and Xishuangbanna|
|1st day of the 10th Lunisolar month||Ngawa||Qiang New Year||羌历年||Qiānglì Nián||Qiang||5 days in Ngawa|
|15th to 22nd day of the 3rd Lunisolar month||Dali||Third Month Fair||三月街||Sān Yuè Jiē||Bai||7 days in Dali|
|3rd day of the 3rd Lunisolar month||Wenshan||Sam Nyied Sam||三月三||Sān Yuè Sān||Zhuang||3 days in Wenshan|
|1st day of the Yi Calendar, often falls in the 10th Lunisolar month||Chuxiong and Liangshan||Yi New Year||彝族年||Yízú Nián||Yi||5 days in Chuxiong and Liangshan|
|1.3 of Islamic calendar||Linxia||Eid ul-Fitr||开斋节||Kāizhāi jié||Hui||3 days in Linxia|
|10.12 of Islamic calendar||Linxia||Eid al-Adha or Kurban Festival||古尔邦节||Gǔ'ěrbāng jié||Hui||3 days in Linxia|
In addition, the following autonomous prefectures celebrate their founding date (Chinese: 州庆纪念日; pinyin: Zhōuqìng JìNiàn Rì or 州庆日; Zhōuqìng Rì). Generally, the government takes one day off to all people working in such prefectures.
Some Chinese young adults have begun to celebrate 11 November as the Singles' Day (Chinese: 光棍节; pinyin: guāng gùn jié) because of the many ones (1s) and many singles in the date.
Serfs' Emancipation Day, celebrated on March 28, was established in Tibet in 2009.
- List of annual events in China
- List of observances set by the Chinese calendar
- Public holidays in Hong Kong
- Public holidays in Macau
- Public holidays in Taiwan
- ^ The authorities always refer to "Chinese New Year" as 'Spring Festival' since they recognize the Gregorian calendar.
- ^ "PUBLIC HOLIDAYS". english.www.gov.cn. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
- ^ "National Day | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
- ^ "Traditional Chibese Festivals".
- ^ "Chinese Festivals".
- ^ Xinhuanet.com "Xinhuanet.com." How will people spend China's 1st Qingming Festival holiday?. Retrieved on 2008-04-04.
- ^ Hite, Brittany (2013). "China's 2014 Holiday Schedule: Still Complicated". China Realtime. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- ^ "China's revised 2014 holiday schedule sparks public ire". Reuters Shanghai. 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
- ^ "First national Martyrs' Day remembers those who sacrificed for China". South China Morning Post. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- ^ "Thinking Chinese - A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events?". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- "Chinese Holidays" (in Chinese). Xinhua. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09.