China: Holidays                                                               

Harvest Moon Festival               

A time to give thanks for the harvest. People carry fish and bird-shaped lanterns. Also known as the “Mooncake Festival”.

Qing Ming Festival                    

 (April) When the Chinese honor the dead.

Festival of Ice and Snow            

In northern parts of China, they build huge ice sculptures and give them names.

Dragon Boat Festival                 

(June) Honors ancient poet Ch’u Yuan, who drowned himself to protest corruption in government. Celebrated with boat races.

Chinese New Year                    

Seventeen-day holiday. Each year is designated as the year of one of the animals in the zodiac. It is celebrated with many parades and street shows.

Lantern Festival                       

“Yuen Sue” Marks the end of New Year. It is famous for the spectacular lanterns in the shape of animals.

Golden Weeks                        

There are three main national holidays when the entire country takes a vacation. These holidays are: Chinese New Year, May Holiday, and National Day (October).

China: Chinese New Year                                                

1. Preparation
Usually the preparation starts a month before the New Year and includes thoroughly cleaning and decorating the house, buying new clothes and preparing enough food for at least two weeks. The decorations are highly symbolic with a lot of lucky words, printed paintings and red colors everywhere. Kids shop for different kinds of firecrackers.

2. New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is a time for families. The New Year Eve's dinner is the biggest dinner of the year. The dinner is full of symbolic meaning. The Chinese dumpling symbolizes wealth since they are in the shape of ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots. Everyone, even kids, drinks a little jiu (usually hard liquor). Because jiu has the same pronunciation as the word longevity in Chinese, it also symbolizes longevity.

3. Firecrackers
Before being banned in China, firecrackers were traditionally set off at the arrival of the New Year. This might have lasted for a few hours. Fireworks symbolize getting rid of the old and welcoming the new.

4. Red Packets
Giving hongbao or red packets during the Chinese New Year is another tradition. A “red packet” is simply a red envelope with money in it, which symbolizes luck and wealth. Red packets are typically handed out to children by their parents, relatives, and close friends.

5. New Year Greetings
The Chinese New Year is a time for socializing. People usually wear new clothes and go out to visit and greet their relatives and friends, so the streets are filled with a lot of cheerful people. The greetings and visiting can go on for a few days.

6. Dragon and Lion Dancing
Dragon and Lion dancing are another tradition related to the Chinese New Year. The dragons, usually ranging from several meters to more than 100 meters in length, are mainly made of bamboo, wood, rattan, cloth and paper, etc. There are poles attached to the belly of the dragon. During the performance, performers hold the poles and raise and lower the dragon to simulate movement. The grand dance starts with the beat of roaring drums.

7. Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Festival is celebrated on the 15th of the first month of the Chinese New Year. It marks the end of the New Year celebrations. It is another time for a family to reunite. Yuanxiao is also a kind of cake, which looks like a table tennis ball (a little smaller) made of sticky rice with sweet stuffing inside. People eat yuanxiao during the Lantern Festival. It symbolizes a family sticking together.