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Chinese Holidays 2017 Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Culture, festivals

Whether you’re living in China or just planning a trip there, it’s good to know the holiday schedule for the year ahead. There are many holidays – both public and unofficial – throughout the year. Here’s a list of all the holidays ahead for China in 2017 along with links to relevant posts for those we’ve already covered in the past.

Public Holidays

Chinese New Year in a village.

China currently has seven public holidays. Some are the same day every year, while many are based on the traditional lunar calendar and thus change on a year-to-year basis. Here’s a table of the 2017 holidays with the date, Chinese name, pinyin, and English translation:

When it comes to holidays, nobody makes it as complicated as China. Most holidays are just one day, while the two biggest ones – Spring Festival and National Day – are three. These are both dubbed “Golden Weeks” (黄金周 – huáng jīn zhōu), as they are made into a 7-day holiday by having people work on one of the surrounding weekends. Thus, it’s not uncommon to work seven days in a row before having seven off. In the lead up to the holiday, airports, train stations, and roads are a clogged mess. Needless to say, the big holidays can be quite a stressful time in China. Take a look at what it’s like celebrating Spring Festival in Yunnan province in this short video:

Previously, Labor Day was also a Golden Week. The idea was that it would encourage tourism and holiday spending. It didn’t quite work out, though. In 2008 the government decided to cut it down to one day and add three new public holidays – the Tomb Sweeping, Dragon Boat, and Mid-Autumn festivals. These are also turned into 3-day weekends, with people working an extra day or two to compensate for it depending on what day of the week the actual holiday falls. As you can see, holidays in China can be quite confusing.

Unofficial Holidays

Lantern Festival on the City Wall.

There are also quite a few unofficial holidays in China. There are too many to mention them all – I’m probably not even aware of a lot of them – but here are some of the most well-known:

  • Lantern Festival (元宵节 – yuán xiāo jié)

  • Int’l Women’s Day (国际妇女节 – guó jì fù nǚ jié)

  • Children’s Day (儿童节 – ér tóng jié)

  • Army Day (建军节 – jiàn jūn jié)

  • Double 7 Festival/Chinese Valentine’s Day (七夕节 – qī xì jié)

  • Hungry Ghost Festival (中元节 – zhōng yuán jié)

  • Single’s Day (光棍节 – guāng gùn jié)

See what the beautiful Lantern Festival looks like in this video:

Now you’re all set for 2017 and all of the fun, confusing Chinese holidays that the year brings!

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is a teacher, student, writer, photographer, web designer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently planning a trip through Central/South America.


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