Most Important Chinese Festivals to See

Traditional Chinese festivals play an important part in China's history and people's lives, from ancient to modern. From the bustle of the Spring Festival to the New Year celebrations to the joyous Mid-Autumn Festival for the reunion, these festivals cover nearly all the natural and cultural understandings, including primitive beliefs, sacrificial culture, the astronomical calendar, and so on from ancient times. Nowadays, their diverse forms and rich contents attract millions of travelers from all over the world. Here are the most important festivals in China, come and join the grand celebration together!

Echoing the counterpart Christmas in Western culture, the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is the most popular and distinctive of the traditional Chinese festivals. It generally falls on the 1st day of January in the lunar calendar, which is often in February.

Since its core aim is to pay homage to ancestors and cherish the union of family, during the Spring Festival, people will hold an assortment of activities to celebrate. About half a month before New Year's Eve, people will sweep up the whole family house and make special purchases to make the new year's decorations for it. By pasting couplets to express their new year's wish, as well as lanterns and window paper, which is one of the prepared decorations for the festival on New Year's Eve celebration. Sharing a feast supper on New Year's Eve is a tradition for a Chinese family to enjoy the harmony of a family reunion together. The meal will usually last for several hours, and then people will stay up late on New Year's Eve with fireworks until the first day of the new year arrives. And for the next day, children are handed out red packets by elders.

Traveling Tips:

  • Book tickets or rooms in advance. It is generally admitted that two weeks before the Spring Festival is the peak public transportation rush period since people return to their hometowns or take a vacation from where they work. Therefore, book tickets and hotels in advance to avoid costing more traffic fares and a shortage of rooms
  • Learn some Chinese greetings for Spring Festival Saying some New Year's greetings when you meet new Chinese friends can demonstrate your politeness and respect for Chinese culture. Xin Nian Hao (Happy New Year) is a common greeting that people use a lot during the period of Spring Festival.

    Fireworks in Chinese Spring FestivalFireworks in Chinese Spring Festival

The Lantern Festival is another traditional Chinese festival that is on the 15th day of the first lunar month every year, meaning the end of the New Year celebrations.

Also known as Yuan Xiao Festival, because the food people eat on this day to celebrate is called Yuan Xiao, a kind of sweet dumpling with the sweet flavor of sesame and peanuts. Inside the house or around the streets and parks, there are many shapes of lanterns hanging from the trees or buildings for decoration, from the most common round shape to the delicate flower or the vibrant animal. As you walk down the street, you can easily find some fairs with activities you can participate in, such as guessing lantern riddles and setting off fireworks. Dragon and lion dances and other traditional performances are added to the celebration in some regions.

Traveling Tip:

  • Take care of your personal belongings when enjoying the lantern feast, which attracts overflow crowds, so pay attention to your personal belongings when enjoying yourself.

    Lantern FestivalLantern Festival

Chinese National Day is an official holiday established by the Chinese government to commemorate the dependence of the country.

Grand military parades are usually held in the capital city of Beijing by the government on October 1st every 10 years to commemorate the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. At this time, you can see hundreds of troops and armies marching neatly through Tiananmen Square, which is quite breathtaking and shocking. If you are a fan of the military and want to see the grand parade with your own eyes, try to book the nearby high-floor room as early as possible, as there is no entrance for traffic and the block is filled with troops.

For a once-in-a-decade parade, it's quite a long time to wait. So, there are national flag-raising ceremonies and other public anniversary activities for normal celebrations. With a flower surrounding the square, viewing one of the most famous landmarks of Beijing, China, can also be an impressive experience.

Traveling Tips:

  • Schedule your travel plan in advance The week of National Day, as known as the Golden Week, is one of the busiest travel weeks, the advance schedule is necessary for those who want to feel the thrill and passion of the locals.
  • Avoid visiting popular destinations on the first day and the last day of Golden Wee There are always crowds of visitors at home and abroad in popular destinations at the beginning and end of Golden Week. Hence, you'd better choose tourist attractions that are not so popular to enjoy the scenery instead of seas of people.

    Tiananmen Square, BeijingTiananmen Square, Beijing

Also called Qingming Festival, it is a traditional Chinese festival to visit and sweep the tombs of people's ancestors. It is usually on April 4 or 5.

Tomb-sweeping and ancestor worship are two of the most important contents of the Qingming Festival. People return to their hometowns to pay homage to their ancestors, no matter where they are. Besides, people will go for a walk or hike during the vigorous spring, which is also known as a holiday to enjoy the spring.

You can follow the locals into the deep mountains. As the first month of spring in the lunar calendar, with the growth and rebirth of plants and crops, there are many things to see or do during these days. Not only to enjoy the vibrant scenery of the season but also to take the fresh ingredients to make Qing Tuan, the green dumpling with the flavor of spring. Or just take a walk in the garden and enjoy a picnic on the soft grassland to feel the coming of spring.

Traveling Tip:

  • Bring an umbrella and enjoy the dizzy rainy weather It is usually rainy on that day, so bringing an umbrella when visiting is necessary, especially on a mountain journey.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Double Fifth Festival, is celebrated on the 5th of March in the Chinese lunar calendar. It commemorates Qu Yuan, a poet from the State of Chu during the Warring States period, who jumped into the Milton River for patriotism. On this day, people hang mugwort and calamus for decoration as well as a kind of protection against pests.

There are quite a lot of activities for both locals and visitors to enjoy. First is the tasting of Zong Zi, a type of rice dumpling that you can try to make yourself. If you like the special taste of the wine, then realgar wine is the one you should try. The most exciting thing is the dragon boat race, a speed competition on a longtail boat decorated like a dragon. If watching can't make you satisfied, joining the competition with the locals is also recommended.

Traveling Tips:

  • Take care of the summer heat It is a summer holiday and the weather in May in China is getting hotter and hotter. Especially the outdoor activities of boat races with crowds along the river. Remember to bring your umbrella, sunglasses and plenty of water before visiting.
  • Enjoying Zongzi Zongzi is a pyramid-shaped rice dumpling wrapped in reed leaves that has a salty and sweet flavor, with some nut ingredients such as peanuts and chestnuts. It is a good idea to check your allergens in advance.

    ZongziZongzi

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or the Mooncake Festival, is on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date changes every year on the Gregorian calendar, which is usually distributed between early September and early October.

It is a festival of reunion. Family members who have been separated for the year due to work or study will return home during these days and sit around the table to share mooncakes and admire the full moon after the family reunion dinner on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival for thanksgiving, praying and family reunions.

As well as the brightest round moon of the year, the Osmanthus is another highlight of this festival. It is the best time of the year to view the full bloom of the golden flower, which is quite pleasant to enjoy the moonlight surrounded by the fragrance of Osmanthus, with a cup of tea and a bite of the Osmanthus flavor mooncake. If you have no idea about the souvenirs, just pick up some moon cake for relatives and friends.

Traveling Tips:

  • Try mooncakes with different flavor There are plenty of kinds of mooncakes for you to enjoy. Salt and sweet are the two main flavor, such as the salt one with egg yolk, pork and nuts, or the sweet one with fruit, cream and bean paste. Meanwhile, a cup of tea is always the best match for the cake.

    MooncakeMooncake

Qiqiao Festival, also known as the Double Seventh Festival in the Chinese lunar calendar, is one of the most romantic festivals among all Chinese traditional festivals. Regarded as Valentine's Day in China, Qiqiao Festival comes from the romantic love legend of a cowherd and a weaver maid, a couple who were separated by the Milky Way and could only meet together once a year on this day.

As the god of weaving, girls would offer their sewing kits and fruit and flowers to Weaver Maid, the star of Vega, to pray for intelligence and smart skill in needlework and marital happiness. Although there is less need for needlework today there are still some places for you to experience this kind of traditional culture in China. With decorations of bamboo, lanterns and flowers, many fairs dotted the streets at night, where you can enjoy the game of threading needles or join the blind date to make some new friends.

Traveling Tips:

  • Put on the Hanbok and enjoy the night Nowadays, there are many costume stores with Hanbok for you to fully enjoy the atmosphere. Rent a costume and do some makeup, then walk down the street with the one you care about. If you really enjoy the dress like this, it is highly recommended that you buy one for yourself.
  • Enjoy the "Qiao Foods" There are many "Qiao Foods" in China and different areas have different types and customs. Normally there are Qiaoguo (Qixi Pastry) for sending ingenuity and intelligence and chicken for happy marriage etc.

The Hungry Ghost Festival, known as the Zhong-yuan Festival in Chinese, is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month to worship ancestors. Legend has it that the gates of hell are opened on this day and the spirits of the dead take the opportunity to return home to see how their living relatives are faring.

Worshipping and burning incense is the most common way to show respect to their ancestors, and lighting lotus lanterns, releasing lanterns on water would be the most romantic way to fare well. In South China, you can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the illuminated river covered with water lanterns of different shapes with wishes inside, and as a visitor, you can also join the party to release your water lantern with your blessing wishes.

Traveling Tip:

  • Visit Taoist temples which have Zhong-yuan ceremonies There will be Zhong-yuan ceremonies in some Taoist temples on Hungry Ghost Festival to release the suffering of both the dead and the living and pray for seasonable weather for growing crops and for the prosperity of the country and people.

The Double Ninth Festival, known as the day celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, worships longevity and is gradually being celebrated as an Elder Day for young people to show their respects to the elderly.

The Double Ninth Festival is also called the Height Ascending Festival. People will wear cornel, which is believed to drive away evil spirits and prevent people from illness, appreciate the full bloom of chrysanthemums and climb mountains or high places. Enjoy the magnificence of autumn by hiking up to the top of the mountains in the clearest and most pleasant months. Follow the golden leafy trail to the top and watch as the red and green mountains are gradually covered in autumn colors.

Traveling Tip:

  • Enjoy chrysanthemum and drink chrysanthemum wine The custom formed after Tao Yuan-ming, a Chinese poet first enjoyed chrysanthemum and drank chrysanthemum wine and people followed suit. So drink some chrysanthemum wine and go back to the peaceful life in ancient China.

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After finishing the reading of the Chinese festivals above, which one has caught your interest or become your favorite? Is it the explosion and festive reunion festival for you to enjoy the delicacy or the one that allows you to enjoy the beauty of seasonal nature? Tell Odynovo about your idea and start the detailed itinerary for your next destination!

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