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China: Events & Holidays

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January

  • New Years Day (Yuandan): January 1. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Long Qing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival: Ice and snow sculptures decorate Long Qing Gorge and remain there until winter passes.
  • Spring Festival (Chunjie): Spring Festival is usually in February but often falls in late January. Also known as Chinese New Year or Lunar New, it falls on the first day of the first moon according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. Officially, it lasts only three days but in recent years, many people have been taking a full week. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY & BIG FESTIVAL

February

  • Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao jie): Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first moon--varying between February and March. You will often see paper lanterns being sold and displayed. It is custom to eat tangyuan--rice treats stuffed with black sesame paste.

March

  • International Working Women's Day (Funu jie): March 8. It is also known as Woman's Day. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Guanyin's Birthday: Guanyin is the Goddess of Mercy. Her birthday is celebrated on the 19th day of the second moon - either in March or April).

April

  • Clear Brightness Festival (Qingming jie): April 5, except leap year. On leap years, April 4. The Clear Brightness Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a day to remember and worship ancestors by visitng and sweeping their graves, leaving flowers, and burning ghost money. BIG FESTIVAL
  • Peach Blossom Festival: Peach blossoms are made into special arrangements welcoming the arrival of spring. The peach blossoms are believed to confer luck so you can then meet your beloved. People often like to visit the Botanical Gardens and Cao Xueqin during this time. Beijing International Kite Festival: At the Mentougou Sports Center you can fly kites--both the traditional and modern kites-- and learn about kites--their flying techniques and history. Martial Arts Festival: Go to the Great Wall at Badaling where sentries walk, cannons explode, arrows fly, and weapons clash!

May

  • International Labor Day (Laodong jie Wuyi): May 1. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Youth Day (Qingnian jie): May 4. Youth Day commemorates the student demonstrations that occurred in Beijing's Tiannamen Square on May 4, 1919. These demonstrations gave rise to the nationalist efforts collectively known as the May 4 Movement. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY

June

  • Children's Day (Ertog jie): June 1. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Yanjing Beer Festival at Shunyi: Folk gala shows, games stalls, beer drinking contests and "free beer."

July

  • Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China: July 1. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Great Wall and Nature Travel Month: Sponsored by the National Tourist Administration, this month features many events near the Great Wall from Shanhaiguan to Badaling. Activities include: hiking, cycling, and motoring events.
  • Nine-Dragon Cup International Dragon Boat Race: The race is held at the Ming Tombs reservoir.
  • Beihai Park Lantern Festival: It is held from late July to early September at Beihai Park.

August

  • Anniversary of the Founding of the PLA: August 1. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Beijing Watermelon Festival: There is tasting and selling and judging of watermelons.
  • International Beer Festival: It is held in Asian Games Village of Beijing.
  • China Folklore Art Festival: The festival is held in either August or September in the Old Summer Palace.

September

  • Asian Folk Customs Week: This week celebrates the eleven Asian nations. Opening ceremonies are held at the Beijing World Park and the International Theater of Poly Plaza.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiu jie): The Mid-Autumn Festival, often referred to as Moon Festival, is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon. People often eat Moon Cakes duriing this time. BIG FESTIVAL
  • The Great Wall Scaling Race: In this race, while wearing traditional amor and weapons, competitors their horses from the Badaling train station to one of the towers.
  • The Birthday of Confucius: September 28 (Western calendar calculation). Ceremonies are held at the main Confucius Temple in Beijing.

October

  • National Day (Guoqing jie): October 1. On October 1, 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded. This is the biggest of China's official holiday. It is an interesting time to visit Tiananmen Square as it is often lavishly decorated. OFFICIAL NATIONAL HOLIDAY
  • Beijing Marathon Chestnut Festival: Located at the Great Wall--Huangyaguan--it celebrates the area's main produce with military games and of course feature chestnuts--picking, roasting, and eating. The International Old Folks Festival: There is food, games, music and folkdancing at Zhongshan Park.
  • White Dragon Pool Red Leaf Autumn Festival: Early October to early November at White Dragon Pool in Miyun County. For further inquiries, please call 512-3508.
  • Fragrant Hills Red Leaf Autumn Festival: Mid-October to mid-November at Fragrant Hills Park located in Haidian District.

November

  • International Jazz Festival: The festival is held during the first week of November with two performances each night at Beijing Children's Theater on Wangfujing.
  • Chrysanthemum Flower Exhibition: Go see and smell chrysanthemums-galore at the Botanical Gardens, Beihai Park, Xicheng District.
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