China holidays


Everything you need to know about Chinese holidays

China is a culturally diverse country, and thus they celebrate many festivals every year. Festivals in China are based on different traditions and themes.

Chinese festivals are an essential part of Chinese culture, history, and traditions. Most of the festivals in China are based on the lunar year. Almost every festival in China has a different origin and custom attached to it. Different traditions associated with the traditional Chinese festival are linked to religious devotion, superstitions, and myths.

Some of the grandest and most celebrates China Holidays include the Chinese New Year, moon festival, and Dragon boat festival. Though people’s lifestyles in China have changed over the years, they still celebrate their culture, and traditions have not changed. So, if you are in China, don’t forget to enjoy their festivals full of fun, frolic, and joy.

This article is part of a series of articles written on holidays and festivals in East / South Asia: Japan holidays and festivals, most important India holidays, and Thailand festivals that will be published soon.

1. The National Day of China

The National Day of China is celebrated on October 1st  every year to commemorate the people’s Republic of China’s foundation. The seven-day China holiday from October 1st  to October 7th is known as the ‘Golden Week’ in China. During such China holidays, people go traveling around the country.

This festival starts with China’s national flag’s hoisting, and then the country’s military forces exhibit the parade. Then it is followed by state dinners, and then fireworks conclude these Chinatown events


This Chinese national holiday takes place nationwide in China and in China’s administrative region called Hong Kong and Macau.

China national day
China national day on 1979


The dates of The National Day of China for the coming five years are

          • 2021- October 1 (Friday)
          • 2022- October 1 (Saturday)
          • 2023- October 1 (Sunday)
          • 2024- October 1 (Monday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

During this Chinese national holiday week from October 1 To October 7, different activities like the flag-hoisting ceremony, dance and song show, fireworks display, and various types of exhibitions are held. And if you are in China during this period, you can enjoy it in the following ways:

          • You can enjoy the flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square
          • Go for unlimited shopping as every mall and shopping places offer huge discounts
          • Try to avoid traveling during this period. As all modes of transportation are crowded
          • If you need to visit during this “Golden Week,” try to avoid going during the first two days of the Golden Week and the last day of the week.
          • Book your train, flight, as well as; a hotel stays in advance.

2. Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year for 2021, will be celebrated on February 12th, for 15 days. This day is an official public holiday in China.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the year 2021 will be held as the “year of the ox.” The Chinese New Year is also known by the name Chunjie or Spring festival. It is a day meant for praying to God for proper planting and harvesting season.


Since one out of five people in the world is Chinese, this festival is celebrated worldwide.


The dates of The Chinese New Year for the coming five years are

          • 2021- February 12 (Saturday)
          • 2022- February 1 (Tuesday)
          • 2023- January 22 (Sunday)
          • 2024- February 10 (Saturday)
          • 2025- January 29 (Wednesday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Set off firecrackers at midnight to welcome the new year and good luck
          • You can eat tasty dumpling for every meal during this spring festival
          • Enjoy fantastic Chinese wines and also enjoy the bunch of drinking games.
          • You can also enjoy the lantern festival held in various places in China.
          • Chinese New Year is a festival of freedom and partying. Thus you can enjoy this fantastic and colorful festival any way you want.
          • This festival makes traveling a bit difficult, as most people visit their hometown, so it is better to book different tickets and hotels in advance.

3. Hungry Ghost Festival

Hungry Ghost festival is one of the most important festivals of the Chinese Lunar calendar’s seventh month. This festival is celebrated to worship the ancestors. People perform several ceremonies to avoid the wrath of ghosts. This festival is similar to the Halloween Festival in western countries.

The Ghost festival will be celebrated on September 2 in 2020. The idea behind this festival’s celebration is that Chinese people believe that ghosts of their ancestors can protect them from the spirits. It is a festival to bridge the dead and the living.


This festival is celebrated in many parts of China and also in Hong-Kong and Singapore.


The dates of Hungry Ghost Festival for the coming five years are

          • 2021- August 21 (Saturday)
          • 2022- August 12 (Friday)
          • 2023- August 30 (Wednesday)
          • 2024- August 17 (Saturday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • You can enjoy different live performances from Chinese operas. They sing and dance on the several folk tunes of Gods and Goddesses.
          • You can even visit exhibitions showcasing Chinese customs and traditions.
          • For travelers, it is a perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s live culture in action.
          • You can learn a lot about the Chinese culture of burning papers and origami sheets to ward off evils and ghosts.

4. Chinese Spring Festival 

The Chinese spring festival is similar to Christmas in the west. And this festival is one of the essential China holidays that people wait for all year round. Even weeks before the festival, the town is in a festive mood. The spring festival starts on the first day of the lunar month and ends with the lantern festival on the lunar month’s fifteenth day.

In the year 2021, the Chinese spring festival will begin on February 12, and it will end with the lantern festival on Friday,  February 26. In this festival, families gather and celebrate the festival by eating and drinking. During this festival, the shops and streets are beautifully decorated with beautiful lights and colored papers.


This festival takes place in entire China and also in the province of Hong-Kong and Macau.


The dates of the Chinese Spring Festival for the coming five years are

          • 2021- February 12 Saturday
          • 2022- February 1 Tuesday
          • 2023- January 22 Sunday
          • 2024- February 10 Saturday
          • 2025- January 29 Wednesday

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • When you are in China during this beautiful festival, you can enjoy delicious laba porridge made up of rice, millets, berries, beans, and gingko
          • You can even enjoy the dumplings known as jiaozi if you are in the northern part of China.
          • If you want to enjoy this festival without going anywhere, you can also watch the spring festival gala on TV for maximum entertainment.
          • If you have friends in China, you can also spend time with them and even exchange gifts.
          • Watching fireworks at night is also one of the things you can do.
          • If you have nothing to do, dress up and go to a gambling club to play poker or other gambling games.

5. Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)

A Mid-Autumn festival is one of the grandest China festivals in 2021 after the Chinese New Year. And this is also known as the China festivals of light. This festival is always celebrated in the middle of the Autumn season. During this time of the year, the moon is at its roundest and brightest. During this festival, people gather to offer sacrifices to the moon.

This mid-autumn festival falls on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. This China Holidays in October is a time of reunion and family gatherings just like Thanksgiving. It’s also called the moon festival or the moon cake festival. Moon festival is one of the most important festivals in China after the Chinese New Year festival. This China holiday is celebrated to thank the moon for a good harvest and

In some Chinese provinces, there are customs to play lanterns, dragon dances, and lion dances. Moon cake is one of the essential delicacies that is eaten during this festival. Due to the frequent interaction with China and the migration of Chinese people worldwide, this festival is now celebrated in different parts of the world. This festival is one of the most sought-after China holidays.


The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in most of the East-Asian nations. But predominantly, it is celebrated in Chinese provinces, including Hong-Kong and Macau.


The dates of the mid-autumn festival for the coming five years are

          • 2021- September 21 (Tuesday)
          • 2022- September 10 (Saturday)
          • 2023- September 29 (Friday)
          • 2024-17th September (Tuesday)
China holiday
Typical deserts of Mid-autumn festival

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Try not to miss the following things at the Mid-Autumn festival
          • This day is a public holiday, so most of the businesses and offices are closed
          • You can enjoy this moon festival by eating autumn fruits like pomelo and starfruit
          • If you are in Hong-Kong, you can enjoy the tradition of fire dragon
          • Enjoy the moon festival by eating and sharing the tasty delicacy known as moon-cake
          • Enjoy the round-table Chinese treats with your local Chinese friends.
          • You can take a cruise up to Beihai park to appreciate the reflection of the moon in the lake and to enjoy the moon cake tea.
          • Enjoy the lantern lightning and dragon dance in Hong-Kong.

6. Yuanxiao Festival

The name Chinese lantern festival is also known as Yuanxiao. These Chinatown festivals are celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This festival mostly falls in February or early March according to the Gregorian calendar. One of the major attractions of this festival is watching colorful lanterns in different shapes and sizes.

This festival is considered one of the most recreational among all Chinese festivals because of the exciting and colorful attractions. People wait for this China Holiday desperately.


The Yuanxiao or the lantern festival is celebrated in most of the Chinese provinces. But it is celebrated in other countries too where Chinese reside, for example, Hong-Kong, United States of America, and Singapore.


The date of the Yuanxiao festival/ lantern festival for the upcoming five years are

          • 2021- February 26 (Friday)
          • 2022- February 15 (Tuesday)
          • 2023- February 5 (Sunday)
          • 2024- February 24 (Saturday)
China holidays in Hong Kong
Hong Kong on Yuanxiao (Lantern) festival

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Make beautiful lanterns and light them at night
          • You can watch the Hebei performance
          • Play lantern riddles with friends
          • Watch the dragon dance on the streets in China
          • The Lion dance is another fantastic performance that you can watch
          • Look at the Chinese opera and artists dance on stilts
          • Eat delicious rice dumplings

7. Duanwu Festival

The name Duanwu festival in China, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Tuen NG Festival, is one of China’s most famous traditional festivals. In 2020, the dragon boat festival will be celebrated from June 25 (Thursday) to June 27 (Saturday). It is one of the essential China Holidays that people in China wait to celebrate. Since ancient times, the Chinese celebrate this festival to dispel diseases and invoke good health.

It is a China Holiday that is observed annually for more than 2000years. This festival is celebrated to commemorate Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet. This festival is celebrated as hygiene when people use herbs to ward off viruses and diseases. Dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi are some of the major attractions of the Duanwu Festival.


The Duanwu Festival is organized all over China. But it is predominantly celebrated in Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Hangzhou, and Xiamen provinces in China.


The dates for the Duanwu festival for the upcoming Five years are:

          • 2021- June 14 (Monday)
          • 2022- June 3 (Friday)
          • 2023- June 22 (Thursday)
          • 2024- June 10 (Monday)
Dragon boat festival

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Participate or watch the boat race held in different Chinese provinces
          • Enjoy the unique cuisine prepared for the occasion known as the Zongzi.
          • Enjoy the specially developed Realgar wine.

8. Qingming Festival

Qingming festival is also known as the Tomb Sweeping Festival, and it is one of the essential China Holidays. This festival is mainly celebrated to pay tribute to the ancestors. Nearly all the ethnic groups in China celebrate this festival. The Qingming starts 104 days after the winter solstice.

One of the most important traditions followed during the Qingming festivals is flying kites. The other influential culture related to this festival is sweeping tombs. It symbolizes activity to clean up and beautify the graves or urns of the ancestors. In some places, people also offer their ancestors their favorite food and drink to show their respect.


In addition to China, this unique festival is also celebrated in Hong-Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.


The dates of the Qingming festival for the upcoming five years are:

          • 2021- April 4 (Sunday)
          • 2022- April 5 (Tuesday)
          • 2023- April 5 (Wednesday)
          • 2024- April 4 (Thursday)
China holidays - Qingming festival
Along the River During the Qingming Festival

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

Engage in the following activities to enjoy the Qingming festival

          • You can go on a trip to the city center or natural area, where you can see people paying tributes
          • Fly little kites tied with lanterns
          • You can also hike at the famous hiking spots in China
          • Participate in different Chinese sports to bring good health.

The Qingming festival is a unique festival that integrates the sorrowful tears with the joy of spring outing. So, if you are in China, don’t forget to enjoy this beautiful festival.

9. Chongyang Festival

The Chongyang festival or the Double Ninth Festival is held on the Ninth Day of the Ninth lunar month. Since the year 1989, this festival is designated as an essential festival to respect the elders. The Double Ninth Festival’s origin can be attributed to the worship of the bright star called the “Antares.”

Since this festival is celebrated as a senior citizen’s day, people usually spend this day with senior citizens in the family. People also eat Chongyang cake that is believed to bring prosperity to people.


This festival is celebrated in entire China to pay respect to the elders in the family.


The dates for the celebration of the Chongyang festival for the upcoming five years are

          • 2021- October 14 (Thursday)
          • 2022- October 4 (Tuesday)
          • 2023- October 23 (Monday)
          • 2024- October 11 (Friday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Enjoy the delicacies made with chrysanthemum
          • It is a pleasant occasion to go hiking
          • Try to climb high places and mountains in China
          • Admire the beautiful flowers during the Chongyang Festival.
          • Spend time with the elderly, and you can also visit some nursing homes.
          • Go for an excursion with your entire family or friends

10. Yuandan Festival

‘Yuandan’ means the first day of a new year. The Chinese character Yuan signifies a beginning, and Dan says day. The Yuandan Chinatown festivals are celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunar year. After the year 1949, it was decided that January 1 would be celebrated as the Yuandan festival to welcome the new year.

Chinese people enjoy this China holiday season by spending time with families and friends. This festival begins from the Chinese New Year’s Eve and culminates on the eighth day after the Chinese New Year’s Day.

The Yuandan is also called the first day of the year. During this spring festival, people burst off crackers, and the Chinese streets are beautifully decorated with lanterns and balloons.


This festival is celebrated in all provinces of China. It is also celebrated in other places in the world where Chinese people reside.


The upcoming dates for the celebration of the Yuandan festival are:

          • 2020- January 25 (Saturday)
          • 2021- February 12 (Friday)
          • 2022- February 1 (Tuesday)
          • 2023- January 22 (Sunday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Try to visit Beijing during the theYuandan festivals to look at the decorated streets and unlimited shopping
          • Visit the temple fairs in Beijing, known by the names Badachu, Ditan, and Longtan.
          • If you are in Shanghai during the Yuandan festival, you can witness the traditional and modern side of this festival.
          • You can also enjoy this spring festival by visiting Guangzhou, where the flower fair is held every year.

11. Labor Day

Labor Day in China began in 1919, and then in 1949, the Chinese government declared labor day to be a national China holiday. This festival is celebrated to honor the workers all around China. It is a fun-filled holiday meant to spend some enjoyable time with family and friends.

Different celebrations are held in various towns in China. Tiananmen Square is filled with people enjoying live music and festivities. Labor Day is not only celebrated for a single day, e. May 1, the festival also extends till May 3rd or 4th.


It is a Chinese national holiday, so it is celebrated in all the provinces of China. Not only in China, but the International Labor Day is also observed in the entire world.


The upcoming dates for the Labor Day celebration are:

          • 2021- May 1 (Saturday)
          • 2022- May 1 (Sunday)
          • 2023- May 1 (Monday)
          • 2024- May 1 (Wednesday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Take part in different celebrations in major China towns.
          • Walkthrough major parks and enjoy the beautiful scenery
          • Listen to live music by various DJs and bands.
          • Look at the parades held in cities.
          • If you are in Beijing, you can also enjoy the flag-raising ceremony.
          • Enjoy different theatres and shows that are organized, especially for Labor Day.

12. Qixi Festival

Qixi Festival is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. This festival of love falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Lunar calendar. The couples in China celebrate this festival by selecting dates and exchanging cards and gifts.

Another custom involving the celebration of the Qixi Festival is that women worship Zhinu or the weaver fairy by preparing a table of offerings that includes tea, wine, fruits, dates, and melon seeds. But in the modern world, the Qixi festival has been commercialized and is celebrated in the same manner as valentine’s day. The couples go for romantic dates and also exchange gifts.


This festival is celebrated all across China but especially in urban areas.


This festival will be celebrated on the following dates in the upcoming year:

          • 2021- August 14 (Saturday)
          • 2022- August 4 (Thursday)
          • 2023- August 22 (Tuesday)
          • 2024- August 10 (Saturday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • You can plan a special day for the love of your life
          • Try to weave something for your loved one, as this festival is also celebrated to get excellent weaving skills.
          • Spot the lovers known as Niulang and Zhinu, in the night stars as both of them became stars.
          • You can also go for a romantic vacation with your spouse, but try to book tickets in Advance

13. Laba Festival (Rice Porridge Festival)

The Chinese Laba Festival falls on the eighth day of the 12th lunar year. This festival is celebrated for people to give sacrifices to their ancestors. The Chinese people also pray for a good harvest during this festival.

A Laba congee eating event is also organized during this festival. This Laba congee porridge has various items full of nutrition such as soybeans, kidney beans, dried nuts, and sugar. This festival is recognized as a day of sacrifice and a day when Sakyamuni (Buddhism Founder) realized the truth and became a Buddha. 


This Spring festival is celebrated all around the Chinese provinces.


Approximate day for the Laba Festival for the coming years

          • 2021- January 20 (Wednesday)
          • 2022- January 8 (Saturday)
          • 2023- December 30 (2022) (Friday)
          • 2024- January 18 (Thursday)
China for holiday
Chinese rice congee

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Eat the specially prepared porridge known as Laba Congee
          • Visit different Buddhist temples in China to commemorate the enlightenment of Buddha
          • You can also visit Buddhist temples to learn more about Buddhism.

14. Winter Solstice

Another name for the winter solstice festival in China is the Dongzhi. This festival is celebrated to welcome the return of the sun. During this festival in China, Dumplings are prepared, especially in Northern China. This festival is also famous for family reunions and gatherings of families and friends.

The other festival activity for winter solstice includes paying respect to the elders at their tombs. This festival is even equivalent to the new year’s China Holidays. This festival is also known as Chinese Thanksgiving in some places. This festive celebration also reminds people they are a year older and should behave in a better way.


Although the winter solstice festival is celebrated worldwide with different names, it is celebrated in China by Dongzhi.


The approximate day and date for the upcoming winter solstice festival

          • 2021- December 21 (Tuesday)
          • 2022- December 22 (Thursday)
          • 2023- December 22 (Friday)
          • 2024- December 21 (Saturday)

How to engage/behave/enjoy (tips):

          • Plan a get together with family and friends
          • Enjoy the winter solstice winter balls
          • Put on new clothes and visit family and friends for a yummy winter solstice dinner
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