Public Holidays

New Year's Day Youth Day
International Women's Day Children's Day
Labour Day National Day

Public holidays in mainland China

There are currently seven official public holidays in the mainland territory of the People's Republic of China. There was a major reform in 2008, abolishing the Labour Day Golden Week and reintroducing pre-Liberation (before 1949) public holidays such as the Qingming Festival. A notable feature of mainland Chinese holidays is that people are often required to work at weekends in lieu of weekday holidays.

Date English name Duration
January 1 New Year 1 days
1st day of 1st lunar month Chinese New Year 3days
5th Solar Term
(April 4th or April 5th)
Qing Ming Festival 1 days
May 1 Labor Day 1 days
5th day of 5th lunar month Dragon Boat Festival 1 days
15th day of 8th lunar month Mid-Autumn Festival 1 days
October 1 National Day 3 days

Notes: Most sources in China count the total number of days off (including statutory holidays, transferred days and weekends), which is important for Chinese people working a seven-day week. E.g. a holiday on a Friday is always announced as a three day holiday (Friday-Sunday). The table above does count weekends.

Transferred holidays
In all these holidays, if the holiday lands on a weekend, the days will be reimbursed after the weekend.

The Chinese New Year and National Day holidays are three days long. The week-long holidays on May (Labor) Day and National Day began in 2000, as a measure to increase and encourage holiday spending. The resulting seven-day holidays are called "Golden Weeks", and have become peak seasons for travel and tourism. From 2008, the Labor Day holiday was shortened to one day, and three traditional Chinese holidays will be added.

Generally, if there is a 3 day holiday, the government will declare it to be a 7 day holiday, making the weekend after normal working days. This means that shops, banks, schools, etc., treat Saturday and Sunday as if they were Monday and Tuesday (or whatever weekdays they have been 'swapped' with). The resulting disruption is accepted as normal.

Other four official public holidays

In addition to these holidays, applicable to the whole population, there are four official public holidays applicable to specific sections of the population:

Date English name Duration Applicable to
March 8 International Women's Day half-day Women
May 4 Youth Day half-day Youth above the age of 14
June 1 Children's Day 1 day Children below the age of 14
August 1 Army Day half-day Military personnel in active service

New Year's Day

New Year's Day marks the first day of the new year on the Gregorian calendar. Although not was well celebrated as it is in the west, mainly due to being overshadowed by Chinese New Year, New Year's Day in the Gregorian calendar is still seen as an important time in China. It is marked with a paid day-off for workers, and people can be seen having parties and dancing in halls and parks.

International Women's Day

International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. This date is designated in China as a half-day public holiday for women.

Labour Day

Labour Day, known as May Day and International Workers' Day is celebrated on May 1, and is a public holiday in China.

In the 1990s, the Labour Day holiday was extended from 1 day to 3 days. The Chinese government made it a 7 day holiday by moving the prior and upcoming weekends together with these 3 days. The Labour Day holiday was one of the three Golden Weeks in China, allowing millions of Chinese people to travel during this period.

Starting January 1, 2008, the People's Republic of China reduced this holiday period down to 1 day, while simultaneously reviving three traditional Chinese holidays: Dragon Boat Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day, and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Youth Day

Youth Day in mainland China is on May 4. It was established in December 1949 by the Government Administration Council to commemorate the beginning of the May Fourth Movement in 1919. People from 14 to 28 have a half-day holiday.

Children's Day

On June 1, all Chinese children under 14 get a holiday on Children's Day. China's central government in December 1949 announced "June 1 International Children's Day" to replace the original "Children's Day on April 4".

National Day

The National Day of the People's Republic of China is celebrated every year on October 1. It is a public holiday in the People's Republic of China to celebrate its national day.

The PRC was founded on October 1, 1949 with a ceremony at Tiananmen Square. The Central People's Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China on December 2, 1949 and declared that October 1 is the National Day.

The National Day marks the start of one of the two Golden Weeks in the PRC.

The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organised festivities, including fireworks and concerts. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, are decorated in a festive theme.

When the anniversary is a multiple of five (e.g. the 50th, 55th, or 60th), large scale official celebrations may be held, including an inspection of troops on Tiananmen Square. 2009 marks the 60th anniversary.

A firework display is usually held nationwide in all cities, including Hong Kong, where a firework display to celebrate the National Day of the People's Republic of China has been held since 1997 at Victoria Harbour in the evening.

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