National Day of the People’s Republic of China

October 1st is China National Day, one of the most important holidays in China. The celebrations commemorate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on Saturday, October 1st, 1949.

National Day of the People’s Republic of China

All historians agree that the proclamation of the PRC was a groundbreaking change in Chinese history. It ended the prolonged war period, which started in 1932, when the Japanese invaded Manchuria, and continued after the end of WWII as the civil war between the Nationalists and Communist forces. The war has taken the life of 20 to 30 million people.

The proclamation of the PRC

In February 1949, Nationalists forces surrendered and peacefully left the city of Beijing. The city was nothing like today’s Beijing – encircled by city walls, filled with low buildings and narrow alleyways (called hutongs). When Mao Zedong decided to proclaim the new state, he chose the Tiananmen Gate, an entrance to the former imperial palace, as the place for proclamation. The famous Tiananmen Square, much smaller than today, was crowded with people, a military parade was organized, and joyous dances followed. Three days later, the new China obtained official recognition from the USSR, and Soviet bloc countries followed soon.

On December 2nd, 1949, October 1st was officially adopted as Chinese National Day.


Celebrating China National Day

Since then, every year is a big celebration, and every ten years, a major scale military parade is held on Tiananmen Square, which is a good occasion for the Chinese government to show its most advanced warfare. What is more important for foreign visitors, the Chinese people enjoy a week-long vacation, shopping centers are, of course, open, but customs offices, universities, and governmental offices are shut down.

China National Day is celebrated in Mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong. There are concerts, fireworks, cultural events, and sports events.

Should you travel to China during China National Day?

China Golden Week is a period when the number of tourists rises, so traveling in China gets harder. To avoid those difficulties, we should plan our trip to China with consideration and avoid the period. Those who cooperate with China’s governmental officials (in China or abroad) will possibly be invited to official receptions and lavish, festive dinners. To paraphrase the old proverb: when with Chinese do as the Chinese do: we shall eagerly join those celebrations and congratulate the Chinese on their motherland’s anniversary.