There are lots of Festivals taking place throughout the year in China.
One very popular Festival is in Harbin from the 4th January, when the Opening Ceremony takes place of the Harbin Ice Festival. The temperature drops well below 26 C and regardless of how many layers of clothes you have on, you will feel the cold! If you do decide to visit Harbin, do all your sightseeing between 12 and 3 in the afternoon, and protect your camera from the cold too. And of course try the local dumplings – they are very warming, and known as the best in the whole of China! More information about the Harbin Ice Festival you can find in one of our previous blog by cliking here
The biggest festival in the country is the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.
The festival traditionally begins on the 1st day of the 1st month in the Chinese lunar calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called the Lantern Festival. Last year (2009) the Chinese New Year of the Ox was on the 26th January, this year the year of the Tiger began on the 14th February, and 2011 will be the year of the Rabbit from 3rd February. More information you can find here.
A very interesting Festival is the Dragon Boat Festival which is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th moon in June. Intricately designed and colourfully painted dragon boats are the highlight of the event.
The Qing Ming Festival Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice – falling on April 4-6 each year. After honouring their ancestors’ spirits, the Chinese believe that the temperature rises and rainfall increases, thereby bringing a good harvest – honouring the dead is therefore an important part of the order of the universe.
The Double Seventh Festival, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, is a what we in the west celebrate as Valentines Day. The Double Seventh Day is not a public holiday in China, but it is widely celebrated and enjoyed.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. In Chinese culture, the full moon is a symbol of peace and prosperity for the whole family, and the number 8 symbolizes wealth and prosperity. In the middle of the lucky 8th month the moon is full – so an auspicious time for celebrations.
All these festivals above are celebrated mainly by the Han Chinese, the largest of the country’s ethnic groups of which there are over 50, each with their own festivals – these are some of the most well-known.
Water-Splashing Festival of Dai – regarded as the New Year of the Dai ethnic minority, who live in Yunnan Province. It takes place from the 14th to 16th April (24th to 26th day of the 6th month of the Dai calendar).
Bullfight Festival of Miao – takes place on the 25th day of the first lunar month in Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces. The Miao ethnic minority people are primarily farmers who naturally regard cattle as an indispensable friend – this festival is to celebrate them them.
Adult Ceremony of Jino – this indicates the transition from childhood into adulthood when both clothing and hairstyles are changed. This festival takes place on the 15th birthday for girls and 16th for boys in Yunnan Province.
March Fair of Bai – the biggest trading festival. It takes place from 15th to 21st day of the 3rd lunar month in Yunnan Province, at the foot of Mount Cangshan in Dali.
Nadam Fair of the Mongolians – takes place on the 15th July in Inner Mongolia.
Kaizhai Festival takes place at the beginning of the 10th month of the Islamic calendar in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang and Gansu Provinces. According to Islam, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar is the fasting month of Ramadan. After 29 or 30 days of fasting comes the traditional Kaizhai Festival on the first day of the 10th month and it lasts 3 days.
The Muslims of China also celebrate the Corban Festival on the 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.
As well as these festivals, China also celebrates International Women’s Day (8th March), Labour Day (1st May), National Youth Day (4th May), International Children’s Day (1st June), People’s Liberation Army Day (1st August), Teachers Day (10th September).