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Entertainment & Activities

  • Even though the Gregorian Calendar is now officially used, the traditional Chinese calendar – which is a lunisolar calendar built around astronomy – still informs many celebrations and festivals to this day.
  • Please note that official public holidays change regularly and are announced annually. Improving the national standard of living and expanding tourism can motivate an increase in public holidays yet the detrimental effect on the economy of these unproductive periods results in reducing the number of official holidays.
  • The Chinese government has been known to suddenly announce a national holiday (sometimes lasting up to a week), for example when an international congress is upcoming. To ease the crowds and smog, schools and tourist attractions are closed and people asked to stay at home.

Public holidays, traditional celebrations & festivals

  • Chinese New Year is celebrated in the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar and marks the beginning of the Spring Festival. It falls between January 21 and February 20 of the western calendar.
  • Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping, Ancestor’s and Memorial Day, honours ancestors by literally sweeping clean and looking after tombs and gravesites. It is also a day to remember those who perished during the war. It’s held in early April.
  • Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival, takes place in June near the summer solstice. The festival has many different origin stories. It is celebrated with dragon boat races and by dropping little sticky rice figurines in the river.
  • The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated during full moon in late September or early October and celebrates the annual harvest.
  • One of the only set dates, National Day of the People’s Republic of China celebrates the ceremonial forming of the Central People’s Government on Tiananmen Square on 1 October 1949.

Activities

  • As big as the country, as diverse the activities to choose from. Ice skating inside Peking University, horse riding the remote mountains around Tibet, hiking the endless walking tracks. It’s all possible. Just ask around if your favourite activity is on offer.
  • Do try your hand at cooking, every region offers their own traditional cooking classes.
  • A special activity is kite making classes where you learn the traditional skill from local experts.
  • Join a Tea Making Ceremony workshop and get to know this Chinese tradition based around showing respect to elders, family gatherings and celebrating special occasions such as weddings.

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