China: Holidays, Events, Climate
Numerous national and regional holidays are based on the traditional lunar calendar and therefore take place on different dates from year to year. Here is just a selection of the most important Han Chinese festivals and holidays across the country:
|January 1||New Years Day|
|Annually changing date between 20.1 and 21.2., Three days off||Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (between January 20th and February 21st of each year)|
|15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar (mid to end of February)||Lantern Festival|
|12th day of the third month of the lunar calendar (usually in April)||Qingming Festival (Feast of Remembrance of the Dead)|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|5th day of the 5th month according to the lunar calendar (mostly in June)||Dragon Boat Festival|
|15th day of the 8th month according to the lunar calendar (in September)||Moon festival|
|October 1||National holiday|
Source: Countryaah – China Holidays
There are many traditional and official festivals in the PRC. However, most of the festivals will remain closed to the casual visitor to China, as they take place in close family circles or behind temple walls. Nevertheless, outsiders know when an important holiday is being celebrated, as the streets, means of transport, sights and restaurants fill up with an unimaginable number of people on this day off. The national holidays of China are based on the Gregorian calendar and have fixed dates. Traditional festivals, on the other hand, are based on the lunar calendar and can vary every year.
Official festivals are:
- New Year (January 1st)
- Labor Day (May 1st)
- and the national holiday on October 1st
Other official festivals are the following days. Those affected have half a day off:
- International Women’s Day (March 8th)
- Youth Day (May 4th)
- International Children’s Day (June 1st)
- Chinese Communist Party Founding Day (July 1st)
- Founding day of the People’s Liberation Army (August 1st)
Chinese New Year (between January 20th and February 21st of each year)
One of the most important celebrations in China is the Chinese New Year (Chinese Spring Festival). The Chinese calendar begins as early as 2637 BC. It is the longest historiography in the world that is still in use. The Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese traditional farmer’s calendar and is between January 20th and February 21st of each year. In 2005 the new year starts on February 9th. It will be rung in with the new moon in the first month of the new year. Although the Gregorian calendar is now officially in use in China, the New Year is still celebrated according to the lunar calendar and in the traditional way. There are three days off for the population and the celebrations last until the 15th day of the New Year and end with the Lantern Festival.
March 8th: International Women’s Day
In the PR China, too, the International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. Generally women get half a day on this day, but this is regulated differently from province to province and is not required by law.
May 4th: Youth Day May 4th
is celebrated in the PRC in memory of the May 4th Movement in 1919. Because of the decision of the Versailles Conference after the First World War (the rights of the German Reich in China fell to Japan) student protests broke out in China on May 4, 1919.
June 1st: International Children’s Day
This day is loved by the young Chinese as all children under the age of thirteen have no school on this day. Parents should do something with their children on this day. Many take a day off or officially have that day off. Alternatively, the schools organize visits to the cinema on this day.
July 1st: Founding
Day of the Chinese Communist Party July 1st is not an official holiday. However, on that day, numerous television programs commemorate the founding of the Communist Party.
September 10th: Jiaoshijie: Feast of Teachers
Jiaoshijie is the festival of teachers. On this day you will receive gifts from the students and a half day off, approved by the school board.
October 1st: Establishment of the People’s Republic of China (in 1949 by Mao Zedong)
Since there are 5 days of vacation on October 1st, the holidays for the establishment of the People’s Republic are also heavily traveled days. On these days, many Chinese are out to visit their families.
Regular cultural events in the PRC are the traditional festivals mentioned above:
- Spring Festival (Chun Jie), which takes place from the first to the third day of the first moon, usually in January or February
- Lantern Festival (on the 15th day of the first moon)
- Birthday of the goddess Guanyin, the goddess of mercy (on the 19th day of the 2nd moon)
- Chinese All Souls’ Day (Qingming Jie), which is celebrated on the 12th day of the third moon, usually on April 5th
- Dragon Boat Festival (on the fifth day of the fifth moon)
- The last of the big festivals of the year is the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the eighth moon.
Regular cultural events in Hong Kong are:
- The Fringe Festival has been organized annually in January/February by the well-known cabaret of the Fringe Club since 1982. The cultural event, which lasts up to four weeks, mainly features experimental and alternative art forms (dance, theater, music, painting and photo exhibitions).
- The Hong Kong Arts Festival has been held annually in February/March since 1973. The program includes presentations by renowned international and local artists from the fields of traditional and modern drama, classical music and pop, folklore dance and ballet, but also exhibitions that present paintings, calligraphy, photography and handicrafts.
- The Hong Kong International Film Festival is held annually in March/ April. The festival takes into account the importance of Hong Kong as a film metropolis and presents domestic and international film productions.
- The Tin Hau’s birthday is celebrated loudly in Hong Kong on the 23rd day of the third moon (mid-April/mid-May) with decorated fishing boats, processions of dragon and lion dancers and colorful fireworks. In honor of the goddess of the seafarers, the largest and most impressive processions of Tai Mui take place at Joss House Bay on the Clear Water Bay Peninsula.
- The Tam Kung Festival is celebrated at the same time as Buddah’s birthday. Tam Kung, the Daoist patron saint of fishermen and seafarers, is only venerated in Macau, apart from Hong Kong.
- The Seven Sisters Festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh moon in August. On this day, the legendary Daoist shrine at Lovers ‘Rock (Maidens’ Rock) on Browen Road on Hong Kong Island is colorfully decorated. Young girls come here on this day to ask for a good husband with offerings.
Regular cultural events in the rest of the PRC are:
- The ice and snow festival in northeast China, especially in Harbin in January and February: ice and snow art is at home in northeast China. For about two months from the beginning of January, the area is adorned with magnificent ice sculptures and imaginative decorations. In addition to theater, acrobatics and other cultural events, there are also sleigh rides.
- The Dai Water Festival takes place in April in the southern Chinese regions due to the intense heat. The Dai ethnic group is at home in these regions and the water festival is also their New Year festival, the water washes away the past and creates space for the future. Especially in the city of Xishuangbanna in the province of Yunnan, the festival is celebrated very lavishly with songs and dances, lantern exhibitions, elephant parades and fireworks.
- In July, the Mongolian Naadam Festival is celebrated in Inner Mongolia. The Mongolian way of life is celebrated with sacrificial ceremonies, horse races, wrestling matches, archery competitions and typical Mongolian food. The center of the hustle and bustle is above all the area around Hohot.
- At the end of September, the philosopher Confucius is honored mainly in Qufu. An international Confucius Festival is held in his hometown every year. Commemorative events, dance performances and sacrificial ceremonies, but also colorful markets and local games give the festival a varied character.
China’s youth love sports, and especially competitive games. And so it is not surprising that most city schools are equipped with basket, volley, foot or handball facilities. In Hong Kong in particular, you can play sports in numerous public and privately operated clubs. Sports imported from England such as golf, cricket, hockey and sailing are also popular in the Special Administrative Region. The People’s Republic of China is particularly successful in table tennis at international sporting events and has achieved medals in this discipline at the Olympic Games.
Tai Chi Chuan, which literally means – the big fist – is one of the most important traditional Chinese sports. Tai Chi Chuan are calisthenics that are supplemented by elements of wrestling, fencing and balance exercises. Often these exercises are carried out outdoors under the guidance of an experienced master in groups or as an individual. As with other Asian fighting techniques, the effect of this defensive fighting technique lies in the art of being superior to the attacker through the trained mobility and the shifting of gravity. Originally, the exercises, flowing rows of countless individual figures, should come from a legendary Daoist priest.
Many Asian martial arts techniques have their origin here, such as Kongfu and Wushu, which were born in the Shaolin Monastery in Dengfeng in Henan Province. However, Tai Chi Chuan was not primarily a pure martial arts technique, but was intended to promote the unhindered flow of energy in the body. It is believed in China that an unhindered flow of energy contributes to the development of the entire personality. In Germany, Tai Chi Chuan is also falsely known as “shadow boxing” – an association that has little in common with the actual sport, as the protagonists move slowly and gracefully and do not show aggressive fighting gestures.
Another leisure activity of the Chinese is the ancient Chinese board game mah-jongg. The game takes its name from a group of game pieces on which a sparrow is depicted and is mostly played for money. Mahjongg rounds can often be seen while walking through the alleys of traditional residential areas and at first glance reminds you of the game of dominoes. The rules are extremely complicated and heavily ritualized.
The aim of a game of mah-jongg is to collect certain combinations of pieces, which are evaluated with points at the end of the game in an account that is not transparent for outsiders. One of the undisputed biggest sporting events in the PRC will be the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. On July 13, 2001, the IOC chose the Chinese capital to host the Olympic Games, the motto of which will be the green, high-tech and cultural Olympic Games.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that CH stands for the nation of China as a two-letter acronym.
Due to the spatial extent, the Chinese climate is subject to very large regional and seasonal fluctuations. China is characterized by four climate zones – from cool, temperate to tropical. Most of China is in a temperate and partly in a subtropical zone. North of the Yangtze River, extreme temperatures must be expected in all seasons. The winters are less severe south of the Yangtze River, but the summers bring high temperatures and, for continental Europeans, unusually high humidity.
The months April to June or September to November are suitable as a climatic average for the travel time. Otherwise, the widely differing climatic conditions require regional travel planning. The clear temperature difference between north and south mentioned above relates to extreme values, but the difference between the regional winter average temperatures of around 32 °C is still quite considerable.
In Harbin, west of the border with Russia, the average temperature in January is -19 ° degrees, in Guangzhou (Canton), north of Hong Kong, + 13 ° degrees. On the other hand, the average temperatures in summer hardly differ: in Harbin in July the average is 34 °C and in Guangzhou (Canton) 37 °C. The Chinese climate is largely shaped by the seasonal monsoons. These extremely cold and dry air masses, coming from Siberia, move from October to April via northern China towards the southeast. These air masses are only partially held up and weakened by the mountains running parallel in an east-west direction.
The Chinese summer months are strongly influenced by the air masses coming from the south and south-east of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They move across the country and not only warm the regions, but also bring the necessary rain. During the winter months in northern China, it is dry, sharp and, above all, requiring warm winter clothing. The winters in the east and south are milder, but also very humid and because of the lack of heating facilities (apart from good hotels) at times between 4 and 5 °C, they are almost unbearable for Central Europeans and North Chinese. The winter in the south and east of China is characterized by the consistently damp clothes that can go moldy if there is insufficient provision.
The summer months also bring dry heat to the north of the country and humid heat to the south. Comfortable clothing made from natural fibers makes the temperature and humidity bearable. Waterproof clothing becomes essential in the north from June to August and in the south from March to September.
The months of July to September are not suitable for travel to the Chinese coastal region in the south or the southeast. During this time, China’s coasts are often hit by the dreaded typhoons. Spring is not recommended for a trip to the north. At this time, sandstorms sweep across the north. Protection from the annoying sand in clothing, nose, mouth and ears is only provided by chiffon cloths that should be wrapped around the face and hair.
In the whole of China, both the short spring and the short autumn are quite mild. Autumn, i.e. the months of October and November, are climatically the calmest time and are therefore the ideal travel time to the Middle Kingdom.
- ZHENGSOURCING.COM: Zheng Sourcing is a leading China sourcing agent based in Hangzhou, ZheJiang, offering premium manufacturing, sourcing, and importing services to all countries in the world.
Some national customs
In China it is important to greet your Chinese business partners or friends according to the hierarchy, i.e. according to age. The ladies are not given priority in greetings in China as in Europe. So you shouldn’t greet the female interpreter first at business meetings, for example. A short handshake is often enough to say hello. The bow that is otherwise common in China is generally not expected by foreigners. It should be noted that when greeting higher or equal partners, look slightly downwards and avoid direct eye contact. In China, this gesture shows reverence and respect. Business cards are usually exchanged when greeting business partners. As a courtesy, the card is received with both hands and considered for a few seconds. Fast, possibly carelessly putting away the business card is perceived as disrespectful in China.
As everywhere in the world, tourists are seen as easy prey for trickery. If you are approached by strangers in China, they can be “tow trucks” at train stations who want to be invited to an expensive meal in a hotel or restaurant. On the other hand, it also happens that Chinese students offer their help to tourists. Most of the time, the students want to practice their English or feel sorry for the foreign language guests. Help with buying a train ticket is gladly accepted. In China, the best way to decline help offered is with a smile and a friendly, but determined gesture.
It is not very common to tip in China. This is not even common in restaurants or hotels.
If you want to give your Chinese friends a present, you will have the greatest success with a typical souvenir from Germany. In the case of unexpected invitations, as in Europe, you don’t make a mistake with a bottle of wine or a fruit basket you bring with you. Sweet wine, e.g. sweet ice wine, is always popular in China. You should definitely avoid flowers as a souvenir. They are considered an expression of sadness, just like white wrapping paper. Red wrapping paper, on the other hand, symbolizes luck.