For thousands of years, China’s rich traditional heritage has borne unique festivals that manifest the diverse and historically charged experience of the Chinese people. They are a very integral part of the country’s history and culture and are deeply embedded into the psyche of both the ancient and modern Chinese people as a nation.
Here we list down the most common Chinese festivals you need to know.
Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
Considered to be the most important festival in China, the Chinese New Year Festival happens on the 1st to the 15th of the first lunar month. It’s the longest public holiday with students taking a 1-month break from school while employees get at least seven days away from work. Since it’s the longest holiday, families get to spend time together and reunite with their loved ones.
The Lantern Festival is considered to be the first significant feast after the Chinese New Year. The festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month. From the name itself, families gather to watch various Chinese lanterns while appreciating the bright full moon together. Aside from watching lanterns, activities also include watching fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, performing folk dances, and eating yuanxiao—rice ball stuffed with different fillings.
Qing Ming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival
Also called as Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day, the festival falls on the 4th or 5th of April of the solar calendar. Some of the most common activities include cleaning tombs of departed loved ones to pay respect for the dead, taking a spring outing, and flying kites. It’s the time of the year where nature takes on its beautiful spring look.
Dragon Boat Festival
This traditional holiday, which is also called Duanwu or Tuen Ng Festival, is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month to commemorate an ancient Chinese patriotic poet named Qu Yan. As the name implies, the festival is best known for the famous dragon boat race.
Double Seventh Festival
Also known as the Qixi Festival, this festival is the equivalent of Valentine’s Day in the west. It falls on the 7th day of the seventh lunar month. Girls are the highlight of this festival, which also explains why it’s called Young Girls’ Festival. During this day, love is celebrated among the young, especially among couples.
The Mid-autumn Festival is regarded as the second grandest festival in China following the Chinese New Year, and is also known as the Moon Festival because it’s during this time of the year when the moon is in its roundest and brightest. The festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, and activities include offering sacrifices to the moon as well as eating moon cakes. People express their desire and longing for loved ones who live far away.
Also called the Winter Festival, this festival falls either on the 21st, 22nd or 23rd of December in the solar calendar. Dumplings are the most important and popular food during this season, especially in Northern China.