Usually, during the official holiday period, the whole private sector is working, but governmental institutions are closed. Holidays are also a chance for people to travel around China, so it is really hard to get a train ticket, and the prices of plane tickets rise sharply. Understanding the holiday calendar will make planning our trip to China easier.
Chinese Festivals and Holidays 2014: Calendar for the Year of the Horse
Spring Festival: 31.01-6.02
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China. According to tradition, everyone should visit their relatives, so the whole transportation network is packed. Even most restaurants are closed because that is the only chance for restaurant owners and workers to celebrate. It is highly unadvisable to travel around China in this particular period. This interesting map will show you the main migration pathways.
Lantern Festival: 14.02.2014
The Lantern Festival symbolizes the end of the New Year holiday period. The Chinese celebrate it by carrying paper lanterns, visiting temples, and eating rice balls called tangyuan. The festival falls on Friday and is a normal working day.
Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming Festival): 05-07.04
Tomb Sweeping Day is devoted to the dead ancestors. It is observed widely in every part of China as the opportunity to honor the ancestors at grave sites by praying, sweeping the tombs, and offering some food, wine, or chopsticks to them. In reflection of the trend of reinstating traditional holidays, Tomb Sweeping Day is the official holiday, which falls on Monday, 7th April.
May Day – Labor Day: 01-03.05
The first day of May is International Workers’ Day, a public holiday in China. In the past, the period of celebration has been stretched for over a week. Now the holiday lasts for three days only: the following Sunday (4.05) is a normal working day.
Dragon Boat Festival: 31.05-02.06
This is the kind of a sport event deeply rooted in ancient history. To commemorate the deceased poet, Qu Yuan, dragon boat races are organized around China. Dragon Boat Festival falls on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (02.06) and is a public holiday.
Mid-Autumn Festival: 06-08.09.2014
During this festival, the Chinese are celebrating the end of harvests, the festival is traditionally held during a full moon. Chinese people gather together, enjoy mooncakes and observe the moon. Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
National Holiday 01-07.10
The National Holiday was set to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. During this holiday, people of China can enjoy seven consecutive days off, which makes it the longest holiday period in the Year of the Horse.
Singles’ Day 11.11
We have already mentioned a couple of traditional holidays rooted in history, but Singles’ Day is something new. “Double eleven” has always been considered a special date for all the lonely men and women in China, but recently internet retailers started to promote it as a shopping day, such as Black Friday. Many online and normal stores are offering discounts or special sales. China is soon to become the world’s first e-commerce market: if you are there around 11.11, remember to take advantage and get the best deals!