The Chinese New Year is coming up soon, and with it a host of other major holidays. If you’re curious about what these holidays are and what they mean, read on for a guide to China’s most important holidays.
While the New Year is the most well-known Chinese holiday outside of China, it’s far from the only one. In fact, China has a rich and varied history of celebrating holidays. Each one has its own unique meaning and purpose, ranging from honoring ancestors to celebrating the natural world.
Whatever your reason for wanting to learn more about Chinese holidays, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for a breakdown of all the major holidays in China and what they mean for the people who celebrate them.
New Year (Spring Festival)
The New Year is the most important holiday in China. It marks the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. Families gather together to celebrate, eat traditional food, and give each other gifts.
The New Year is a time for new beginnings. People make resolutions for the coming year and hope for a better future. The New Year is also a time for happiness and joy. Families spend time together and celebrate all they have been blessed with.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, which usually falls in February or March. This is a joyous festival that celebrates the end of winter and the coming of spring.
One of the most popular traditions associated with the Lantern Festival is lanterns. People hang lanterns all around their homes, and children go trick-or-treating with brightly lit lanterns. There are also often lantern parades, where participants light up their lanterns and parade through the streets. Know more about China holidays and their meaning here.
The Lantern Festival is a very happy festival, and it’s a great time to celebrate the coming of spring.
Tomb-Sweeping Day (Qingming Festival)
Also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, Qingming Festival is one of the most important holidays in China. It’s celebrated on the 104th day after the winter solstice, and it honors the ancestors who have passed away.
People usually visit the graves of their loved ones to clean and decorate them. They also offer food and drink to the spirits of the dead, as well as burning joss paper in honor of them. Families often get together to celebrate Qingming Festival, and it’s considered a time for reuniting with loved ones who have passed away.
Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, which usually means it takes place in June on the Gregorian calendar. It’s a time to eat special rice dumplings called zongzi and race dragon boats.
The festival is actually a commemoration of the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and official who lived during the Warring States period. He was so distraught over the state of his country that he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
People raced out in boats to try and save him, but they were too late. To prevent fish from eating his body, they started throwing rice dumplings into the water. Now, every year on the anniversary of his death, people eat zongzi and race dragon boats to honor his memory.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and is a time for family reunions. Legend has it that the festival celebrates a hero who saved his village from a drought, and as a result, it’s also known as the Harvest Festival.
Traditionally, people will offer sacrifices to the moon goddess, and eat mooncakes, which are round pastries filled with lotus seed paste or red bean paste. Nowadays, you can find all sorts of mooncakes with different fillings, from green tea to chocolate.
Families will also get together to have dinner and admire the full moon. It’s a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company, and usually ends with fireworks.
National Day falls on October 1st and is a celebration of the country’s founding. The holiday usually lasts for 7 days, during which many people travel. National Day is a great time to visit if you want to see China at its best, with most of the country decked out in red and yellow – the colors of the Chinese flag.
There are so many holidays in China – it can be hard to keep track of them all! But each one has its own special meaning and importance. From the New Year to Qingming, these holidays are a great way to learn more about Chinese culture and tradition.
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