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National Day

National Day 2017 and 2018

National Day in China is a holiday that has been celebrated in some form since the Western Jin dynasty in the early 3rd century AD.

YearDateDayHoliday
20171 Oct to 8 OctSun to SunNational Day
20181 Oct to 7 OctMon to SunNational Day

In China under imperial rule, National Day was a celebration of the Emperor’s birthday or his rise to the throne. Nowadays, National Day in China is held to celebrate the formation of the People’s Republic of China.

Celebrating National Day in China

Light shows and fireworks are a common part of National Day celebrations in Beijing. Photo: flickr.com/artofbackpacking

History of the modern National Day in China

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared the formation of the People’s Republic of China after Chiang Kai-Shek and his Nationalist forces were driven out of of mainland China. Ever since then, the first day of October has been a day of patriotism and national celebration. The holiday is held annually in Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China.

The Celebration

The first seven days of October are referred to as the Golden Week. This is a time of travel and leisure that is celebrated differently in various parts of China. People in cities often travel to rural areas to relax and enjoy the quiet surroundings. People from urban areas also travel to other cities throughout China to take part in celebrations. Beijing is the center of the largest National Day activities. Each year, a large National Day celebration is held in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The activities of this celebration vary depending on the year. On five and ten year intervals, a parade and military review are held. The events on five year intervals are impressive, but ten year interval celebrations are much larger. During each parade, the president of China leads in a car while a massive formation of Chinese soldiers follows behind him on foot and in vehicles. This is meant to celebrate the accomplishment of the People’s Republic of China existence for another decade.

Beijing’s National Day festivals are filled with military performances, food vendors, live music, and various other activities. In Beijing and other cities, musical and dance concerts are held to celebrate National Day. Traditional styles of music are presented, but Chinese pop and rock performers also demonstrate their talents on this day. Crafts, painting, and a range of other activities can be enjoyed by people of various ages. On the evening of National Day, a grand and elaborate fireworks demonstration is performed. This fireworks show is sanctioned by the Chinese government and some of the highest quality rockets and explosives are used to fill the sky with sparkling colors of gold and red.

In addition to patriotic celebrations, National Day in China is also a time for people to enjoy being with their families. Family members of all ages will often use this as an opportunity to travel to a central location to reconnect after months of working. This helps eliminate the stress of work and helps make sure that families remain close as people pursue their own goals.

Although National Day is centered around patriotism and China’s history, National Day is also a time of shopping. Many companies offer very large discounts on products during Golden Week, so people should put a bit of money to the side and use this as an opportunity to purchase some of the things that have been on their wish lists for a while. Technology and clothing are among the most common kinds of items to have discounts.

One of the most popular festivals for celebrating National Day is the Flower Bed festival that occurs in Beijing. The Flower Bed festival is known for its elaborate displays and flower arrangements. Visitors of this festival often walk around to enjoy the weather while looking at the vibrant colors of some beautiful flower beds.

While it is not an official part of National Day, the Mid-Autumn festival is often celebrated around the same time. Based on the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn festival occurs sometime between end of September and the beginning of October. This is often celebrated for good fortune during the upcoming harvest season and to honor traditional deities. The moon cakes and dumplings of the Mid-Autumn festival are often enjoyed during Golden Week as a result of the two holidays being so close together.

In Mainland China, most Chinese people enjoy three days of vacation between two weekends. Altogether, Chinese people can enjoy up to seven days of Golden Week leisure and celebrations. In Macau, people receive two days of vacation. People in Hong Kong only receive one day.

Traditions

Like it is for many other Chinese holidays, the color red is held in high regard due to its connections with luck and prosperity. Red clothing is sometimes worn during National Day celebrations. It is also used heavily during fireworks displays. As one would expect from a holiday that has also been called Golden Week, gold fireworks and decorations are also used. Families and various organizations also hang lanterns on the outside of buildings to help make the surroundings more festive and to show their support of China.

National Day in China is a patriotic holiday that is intended to show the relationships between China and its people. People of all ages can enjoy the various events offered during this celebratory time.