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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 2018 along with links to relevant posts for those we’ve already covered in the past.
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 2018 holidays with the date, Chinese name, pinyin, and English translation:
*Note: There are eight holidays listed in the table so you can learn the vocabulary for Spring Festival Eve, as it’s one of the most important days in China.
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.
Celebrating Spring Festival in a Chinese village.
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.
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:
The Qixi Festival is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, with flowers, chocolates, and all. However, the history of the holiday is much more than a simple box of chocolates. Learn about the old story and some of the modern day customs in this short video.
Now you’re all set for 2018 and all of the fun, confusing Chinese holidays that the year brings! If you’re going to be traveling in China during any major holidays, be sure to secure your accommodation and transportation well in advance. This is especially important during the long Spring Festival and National Day holidays, as the entire country is on the move. While it may seem a bit intense to be in China during these important holidays, it can be a great experience so long as you’re prepared!