Public holidays in China

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There are currently seven official public holidays in 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 2014[1] 2015 2016 2017 2018[2] 2019
January 1 1 day New Year 元旦 Yuándàn 1 January 1 January[a] 1 January[b] 1 January[c] 1 January[b] 1 January[d]
1st day of 1st Lunisolar month 3 days (1st, 2nd and 3rd days of 1st Lunisolar month) Spring Festival[e] 春节 Chūnjié 31 January[f] 19 February[g] 8 February[h] 28 January[g] 16 February[g] 5 February[i]
5th solar term (April 4, April 5 or April 6) 1 day Tomb-Sweeping Day 清明节 Qīngmíng jié 5 April[c] 5 April[c] 4 April[b] 4 April[d] 5 April[a] 5 April[b]
May 1 1 day Labour Day 劳动节 Láodòng jié 1 May[a] 1 May[b] 1 May[c] 1 May[b] 1 May[d] 1 May
5th day of 5th Lunisolar month 1 day Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 Duānwǔ jié 2 June[b] 20 June[c] 9 June[a] 30 May[d] 18 June[b] 7 June[b]
15th day of 8th Lunisolar month 1 day Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 Zhōngqiū jié 8 September[b] 27 September[j] 15 September[a] 4 October[k] 24 September[b] 13 September[b]
October 1 3 days (October 1,2 and 3) National Day 国庆节 Guóqìng jié 1 October[l] 1 October[m] 1 October[n] 1 October[k] 1 October[o] 1 October[l]
Chinese National Day in 2004 at Beihai Park, Beijing.

History[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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).[5] 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.[6][7] However, since 2015, New Year's Eve is swapped with nearby weekends so that people need not work on New Year's Eve.

the original version (released on December 23rd, 1949)[edit]

  • New Year: 1 day (January 1)
  • Spring Festival: 3 days (1st, 2nd and 3rd days of 1st Lunisolar month)
  • Labour Day: 1 day (May 1)
  • National Day: 2 days (October 1 and 2)

total: 7 days

the first revised version (revised on September 18th, 1999)[edit]

  • New Year: 1 day (January 1)
  • Spring Festival: 3 days (1st, 2nd and 3rd days of 1st Lunisolar month)
  • Labour Day: 3 days (May 1, 2 and 3)
  • National Day: 3 days (October 1, 2 and 3)

total: 10 days

the second revised version (revised on December 14th, 2007)[edit]

  • New Year: 1 day (January 1)
  • Spring Festival: 3 days (New Year's Eve, 1st and 2nd days of 1st Lunisolar month)
  • Tomb-Sweeping Day: 1 day (5th solar term (April 4, April 5 or April 6))
  • Labour Day: 1 day (May 1)
  • Dragon Boat Festival: 1 day (5th day of 5th Lunisolar month)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: 1 day (15th day of 8th Lunisolar month)
  • National Day: 3 days (October 1, 2 and 3)

total: 11 days

the third revised version (revised on December 11th, 2013)[edit]

  • New Year: 1 day (January 1)
  • Spring Festival: 3 days (1st, 2nd and 3rd days of 1st Lunisolar month)
  • Tomb-Sweeping Day: 1 day (5th solar term (April 4, April 5 or April 6))
  • Labour Day: 1 day (May 1)
  • Dragon Boat Festival: 1 day (5th day of 5th Lunisolar month)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: 1 day (15th day of 8th Lunisolar month)
  • National Day: 3 days (October 1, 2 and 3)

total: 11 days

Overview[edit]

Holidays in China are complicated and are one of the least predictable among developed 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 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 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.

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 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
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 Qingming solar term.
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 Lunisolar 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 in 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 People's Liberation Army (PLA) Day 建军节 Jiàn jūn jié Nanchang Uprising (南昌起义 Nánchāng qǐyì) on August 1, 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
September 3 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)
September 30 National Memorial 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
October 1 National Day 国庆节 Guóqìng jié Founding of PRC on October 1, 1949
9th day of 9th Lunisolar month Chongyang Festival 重阳节 Chóngyáng jié Based on Chinese calendar.
December 13 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 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.

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 prefecture-level divisions, 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 day in Dehong
1st day of Tibetan year Dêqên, Garzê, Gannan and Ngawa Losar 藏历年 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 celebrates 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 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
1.10 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

Besides, the following Autonomous Prefectures celebrates their founding date (州庆纪念日 Zhōuqìng JìNiàn Rì or 州庆日 Zhōuqìng Rì in Chinese). Generally government takes 1 day off to all people working in such prefectures.

Celebrating Location Date
Chuxiong 15 April
Dali 22 November
Dehong 23 July
Dêqên 13 September
Enshi 19 August
Gannan 1 October
Garzê 24 November
Liangshan 1 October
Linxia 19 November
Ngawa 2 January
Nujiang 23 August
Qiandongnan 23 July
Qiannan 8 August
Qianxinan 1 May
Wenshan 1 April
Xiangxi 20 September
Xishuangbanna 23 January
Yanbian 3 September

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) and many singles in the date.[8]

Serfs Emancipation Day (March 28) was established in Tibet in 2009.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e The holiday is from Thursday to Saturday. The Sunday after the holiday is a working day. This is officially counted as a three-day holiday.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The authorities combine it with the weekend to make a 3-day holiday.
  3. ^ a b c d e The date of the festival falls on a weekend, so the public holiday has been transferred to Monday.
  4. ^ a b c d The holiday is from Sunday to Tuesday. The Saturday before the holiday is a working day. This is officially counted as a three-day holiday.
  5. ^ The authorities always refer to "Chinese New Year" as 'Spring Festival' since they recognize the Gregorian calendar.
  6. ^ The holiday is from 1st day to 7th day of 1st Lunisolar month. The Sunday before the holiday and the Saturday after the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  7. ^ a b c The holiday is from New Year's Eve to 6th day of 1st Lunisolar month. The Sunday before the holiday and the Saturday after the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  8. ^ The holiday is from New Year's Eve to 6th day of 1st Lunisolar month. The Saturday before the holiday and the Sunday after the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  9. ^ The holiday is from New Year's Eve to 6th day of 1st Lunisolar month. The Saturday and Sunday before the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  10. ^ The traditional date of the festival falls on a Sunday near National Day, so the public holiday has been transferred into the holiday of National Day.
  11. ^ a b The holiday containing National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival is from 1 October to 8. The Saturday before the holiday is a working day. This is officially counted as an eight-day holiday.
  12. ^ a b The holiday is from 1 October to 7. The Sunday before the holiday and the Saturday after the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  13. ^ The holiday is from 1 October to 7. The Saturday after the holiday is a working day. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  14. ^ The holiday is from 1 October to 7. The Saturday and Sunday after the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.
  15. ^ The holiday is from 1 October to 7. The Saturday and Sunday before the holiday are working days. This is officially counted as a seven-day holiday.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "General Office of the State Council on 2018 Some holiday arrangements notice". Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  3. ^ "Traditional Chibese Festivals".
  4. ^ "Chinese Festivals".
  5. ^ Xinhuanet.com "Xinhuanet.com." How will people spend China's 1st Qingming Festival holiday?. Retrieved on 2008-04-04.
  6. ^ Hite, Brittany (2013). "China's 2014 Holiday Schedule: Still Complicated". China Realtime. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  7. ^ Reuters Shanghai (2013-12-12). "China's revised 2014 holiday schedule sparks public ire". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  8. ^ "Thinking Chinese - A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events?". Retrieved August 29, 2012.

External links[edit]