Celebrating in China: Holidays and Festivals

Like the people of all prosperous and vibrant cultures, the Chinese celebrate many different kinds of annual festivals, some of which are also observed as official holidays (when most workers are given time off). Some festivals (like七夕节, qī xī ji, The Double Seventh Festival) commemorate a traditional Chinese legend; others were established to mark a more recent international occurrence (like妇女节 fù nǚ jié, Women`s Day). There are also two week-long “Golden Week” (黄金周) holidays: Spring Festival (春节) and Chinese National Day (国庆节).

China Holidays in 2017

Festivals Legal Holidays Date Days Off About
元旦节
(yuán dàn jié)
New Year’s Day
1 day Jan. 1
(Sunday)
Dec. 31, 2016 – Jan. 2, 2017 The beginning of the new year based on the Gregorian calendar.
春节
(chūn jié)
Chinese New Year
3 days Jan.28
(Saturday)
Jan.27–Feb.2 春节, chūn jié, means Spring Festival. This is the most,important festival in China.
元宵节
(yuánxiāo jié)
Lantern Festival
Feb. 11
(Saturday)
The Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the new year in the Lunar Calendar, and it indicates the end of Spring Festival. The most important and most common customs include enjoying lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, eating tangyuan (rice dumplings), and watching the lion dances.
妇女节
(fù nǚ jié)
Women`s Day
Half day Mar. 8
(Wednesday)
Mar. 8,Afternoon,(women only, not
compulsory)
In 1949, coinciding with the founding of modern China, Women’s Day became an official public holiday to celebrate women’s skills and achievements.
清明节
(qīng míng jié)
Qingming Festival
1 day Apr.4
(Tuesday)
Apr. 2–4 Also called Tomb Sweeping Day, this festival is for commemorating the dead. It also marks the beginning of one of the 24 Chinese solar terms.
五一劳动节
(wǔ yī láo dòng jié)
May Day
1 day May.1
(Monday)
Apr. 29 – May. 1 China’s celebration of International Labor Day.
端午节
(duān wǔ jié)
Dragon Boat Festival
1 day May. 30
(Tuesday)
May. 28–30 A traditional Chinese festival with activities such as racing dragon boats and eating zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in leaves).
七夕节
(qī xī jié)
Chinese Valentine’s
Day
Aug. 28
(Monday)
This festival is also called Double Seventh Night because it falls on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. It is a traditional folk festival of the Han people, commemorating the time when the legendary Cowherd and the Girl Weaver were supposed to have their annual meeting. The day is not as well-known as many other Chinese festivals, but almost everyone in China, young and old, is very familiar with the story behind it.
中秋节
(zhōng qiū jié)
Mid-Autumn Day
1 day Oct.4
(Wednesday)
Oct. 4, within the National Day holiday A day for Chinese family reunions and to celebrate the harvest. Chinese people often eat moon cakes while enjoying the full moon.
国庆节
(guó qìng jié)
National Day
3 days Oct. 1 Oct.1–7 (be prolonged to Oct. 8) On this day, Chinese people celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949. This holiday also marks the start of one of the Golden Weeks (一黄金周)