The Seven Official Public Holidays of China
There are seven official public holidays in the mainland territory of China each year.
There was a major reform of China holidays in 2008 where the Labour Day Golden Weekend was abolished and three traditional Chinese holidays were added. These are the Qingming Festival, Duanwun Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Note: All public holiday dates are accurate at the time of publishing but are subject to change. Please make sure you check any dates with your travel agent before booking any holidays.
China – 2015 Public Holidays & Special Days
- New Year (3 days)
- Spring Festival (7 days)
- Valentine’s Day
- Tomb Sweeping Day (3 days)
- Labour Day (3 days)
- Mother’s Day
- Dragon Boat Festival (3 days)
- Father’s Day
- Mid-Autumn Festival (3 days)
- National Holiday
About China’s Public Holidays, Celebrations & Festivals
In China, most traditional holidays are now celebrated as Public holidays.
China celebrates only two international holidays – New Year and May Day.
Due to China’s glorious history and rich culture, the Chinese people observe and celebrate diverse festivals. In fact, each of these numerous festivities showcases the unique Chinese traditions and the daily life of the people vibrantly.
Apart from these festivals, Chinese people celebrate other festivals like Army Day, Women’s Day, Youth Day and Children’s Day. Many other anniversaries and galas, such as Teachers’ Day and Arbor Day are also celebrated. However, these celebrations are not declared as holidays by the Chinese Government.
The traditional festivals in People’s Republic of China are generally based upon the Chinese lunar calendar.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day marks the beginning of a new year in China and around the world.
The Spring Festival, also popular as the Chinese New Year, is probably the most grand and important traditional holiday in China. It is celebrated on the 1st day of Chinese calendar’s first lunar month (between end of January and early February) every year. The Chinese New Year is extensively celebrated for 15 days.
People commemorate this traditional Chinese festival in several ways. Family members carry out intensive house cleaning such as, scrubbing the walls, polishing and sweeping the floor, wiping dust off furniture etc. After cleaning, they decorate their houses with artistically cut pieces of bright red paper and write their wishes for good health, happiness and fortune on those pieces. People in China believe that, through this custom, they can drive away bad luck and misfortune and attract good luck and fortuity into their households. In addition, people visit their relations and other acquaintances during this spirited Chinese festival.
Families gather together for a dinner consisting of traditional cuisine. The dinner mostly comprises of round fruits that signifies prosperity and sticky foods that stand for unity. The children in the family are given red envelopes containing money for prosperity and good luck. Also, during this festival, fireworks, lion and dragon dances as well as other traditional acts are staged in the streets or parks. Spring Festival, the most important Chinese festival, brings together all Chinese families to begin a brand New Year in a grand manner.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is held on March 8 every year and there are no days off.
Arbor Day is held on March 12 of every year and there are no days off.
Tomb Sweeping Day
Also known as Quingming Festival and Clear Bright Festival, there is a public holiday in China for the Tomb Sweeping Day each year.
Labor Day is also known as May Day and International Worker’s Day
Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Festival is also known as the Duanwu Festival and famous as the Dumpling Festival.
The Festival is celebrated around the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month each year.
People’s Liberation Army Day
The Army Day of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is celebrated on August 1 each year. There is a half day holiday for people in the active army.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the China Moon Festival is a festival for Chinese people who love to admire the full moon. It is also referred to as the Lantern Festival.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most significant festival in China. Each year, before the festival, people return home from all corners of the country or the world to reunite with their families and have dinner with them. This celebration has a history that spans over 3,000 years, dating back to ancient times of moon worship. This holiday occurs on the fifteenth day of the 8th lunar month (towards the end of September or early October). This festival celebrates the moon and in China the moon represents unity and wholeness and indicates a time for family re-unions. Additionally, it is the custom, particularly in the country side, to climb hills and watch the full moon rise. Special cakes made of pastry filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus, nuts and dates, are eaten while watching the moon.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the 1st lunar month, which is, on the 1st full moon night of the New Year. On this day, the houses, shops and streets are decorated with arrays of colorful lanterns. Traditionally, people relish sweet dumplings and admire colorful lanterns during this festival. The tradition of appreciating the lanterns commenced from the first century and is extremely popular all across the country till now.
The People’s Republic of China Birthday is also known as National Day and is held on October 1 each year.
Overall, traditional Chinese festivals are rich in content and profusely colorful. Characterized by diverse themes and styles, the holidays of China form a vital part of Chinese culture and history. Each and every festival and holiday has its distinctive origins and customs that reflect the traditional morality and practices of the entire nation and its people.