China has 7 public holidays of national character. New Year, the Spring Festival, the Tomb Sweeping Festival, Labor Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and National Day.
The Chinese government released its official holiday schedule for 2020 through its website www.gov.cn on November 21, 2019.
Below is a detailed list of 2020 public holidays in China with a brief description of them.
January 1, 2020 (Wednesday)
Certainly, New Year’s Day is one of the favorite holidays for people around the world. This is not the case for the Chinese.
Chinese celebrate the first day of the year of the lunar calendar (Spring Festival). Thus, the first day of the year from the western perspective (Gregorian calendar) is not that important.
January 1 began to be a public holiday in China in the 20th century when the Communist Party came to power.
Although not a traditional Chinese festival, the city’s shopping malls are decorated.
January 24 – 30, 2020 (Friday to Thursday)
The Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival in China. This New Year festival is celebrated within fifteen days and is the longest public holiday. The date of this festival varies as it is calculated according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. In the western, solar (Gregorian) calendar falls a day between January 21 and February 21.
The 15-day festival ends with the Lantern Festival. It is the very first full moon night in the Chinese calendar and all over the country, people place lanterns and light candles along the streets.
The Spring Festival is characterized by happy family gatherings. Children love these gatherings due to the fact that money in a red envelope is provided as a gift by the family’s seniors.
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It is a holiday with many recreational activities for people of all ages.
While it is a low season for tourism, it is one of the best times to experience Chinese culture.
Tomb Sweeping Festival
April 4 – 6, 2020 (Saturday to Monday)
In China, the Tomb-sweeping festival is also called Qingming Festival or “All Souls Day”. The primary role of this festival is to pay respect to ancestors. It is one of the most important festivals in China.
According to the tradition of ancestors worship, tomb-sweeping is an important part of the festival day and the days leading up to it. Sticks, incense, and joss paper (representing money) offerings would be burnt for the dead individuals. Flowers may also be brought as a show of respect. Peach blossoms and chrysanthemums are the most popular.
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In addition to their ancestors, during these holidays people honor the dead national heroes and warriors.
There are various customs and traditions during this festival and kite flying is one of the most enjoyable. It is a unique experience because the kites are not just flown throughout the day but also at night, with small lanterns attached to them.
Qingming offers a wide variety of special cuisine, included sweet green rice balls, Sazi, Qingming Cakes, peach blossom porridge, green dumplings, Qingming snails, and eggs.
May 1 – 5, 2020 (Friday to Tuesday)
Labor Day in China began in 1919 but was officially established and approved by the Chinese government in 1949.
Initially, these holidays served to honor Chinese workers. Today is a kind of family holiday where people can enjoy a variety of activities. On the streets of cities, there are parades, marching bands, and other shows to honor China’s workers and history.
Labour Day in China, or International Worker’s Day, unlike other Chinese holidays is based on the Gregorian calendar instead of the lunar calendar.
On Labor Day and the days leading up to it, the Chinese government gives permission for discounts throughout the country.
Due to the warm climate during May, in most of China, Labor Day is one of the best times to visit China.
While there are no special foods or cultural customs, you can take advantage of discounted rates to visit the main attractions or go shopping.
Dragon Boat Festival
June 25 – 27, 2020 (Thursday to Saturday)
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Duanwu Festival, is a festival to show respect for the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself to protest against his emperor. Another name for this festival is, the double fifth’ festival because it is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar.
The main activity of this festival is the Dragon Boat Racing. The boats used in these races are made in the shape of a dragon and are painted with dragon designs and colors to suit the occasion. During the races the boat crews paddle harmoniously and fast, accompanied by the noise of beating drums. The winning team according to tradition earns a year of good fortune and happiness.
The main treat for this festival is Zongi. Zongi is a sticky rice dumpling, filled with glutinous rice, beans, salted meat, egg yolk and other ingredients wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves.
During a Dragon Boat Festival meal, it is common to drink realgar wine. It is believed that realgar wine drives away the evil spirits and repels disease.
National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival
October 1 – 8, 2020 (Thursday to Thursday)
The Chinese Nationa Day is on October 1st. On this day, Chinese people celebrate the formation of the People’s Republic of China.
Starting on October 1st, the celebrations continue for seven days. It’s the well-known “Golden Week”.
The festival begins with a great military parade in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, and continues with street performances and celebrations throughout the week.
It is time for travel and leisure for the whole country.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China. It is time to reconnect with family members. That’s why it also called Reunion Festival.
It is celebrated mostly at night with family gatherings. Mooncake is the gift that family members and friends give each other.
Mooncakes have round shapes which in Chinese culture, symbolize reunion and completeness. They can vary in design and flavor. It can be sweet or filled with duck or pork.
Click here to see some delicious Mooncakes.– Opens in new tab.
As with many other Chinese festivals, traditional lanterns are used to make the environment more festive.
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