National Day Golden Week Posted by sasha on Oct 4, 2013 in Culture, Uncategorized
Every year on October 1st, China celebrates its National Day (国庆节 – guó qìng jié). This holiday marks the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, which Chairman Mao proclaimed from Tiananmen Square. Along with the Spring Festival, this is a week-long holiday for most people. Actually, people call them both “Golden Weeks” (黄金周 – huáng jīn zhōu). While the Spring Festival is traditionally a time for Chinese people to return to their hometowns, the National Day is often celebrated by going on a trip. In China, bus and train stations are insanely crowded with people trying to get to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
However, more and more Chinese people are getting visas, buying plane tickets, and traveling abroad. With so many Chinese traveling abroad for their first time, obviously there are going to be some issues. This CNN article details the story of how a 15-year old Chinese boy scrawled his name on the 3,500-year old Luxor Temple in Egypt. Over at the Global Times, this post talks about Chinese tourists washing their feet in the Louvre fountain in Paris. It’s not just happening in other countries, either – this article discusses how a Chinese lady had her son relieve himself in a bottle in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Always ready to express their opinion, Chinese netizens have been outraged by these incidents, and even the government decided to step in and do something.
Back in May, Vice Premier Wang Yang (汪洋) stressed the importance of behaving while traveling abroad. Apparently, he didn’t think people would just listen to him, because in the lead-up to this year’s National Day Golden Week, the government produced a 64-page illustrated handbook on how to behave in a civilized manner while traveling. My personal favorite snippet is, “Don’t leave footprints on the toilet; don’t forget to flush the toilet after use.” You can read more about this book in this great article from the WSJ.
With more and more Chinese traveling abroad, it’ll be interesting to see how other countries react to an influx of Chinese tourists. As an American who already gets a bad rap as a tourist (think fat guy with a Hawaiian shirt asking where the nearest McDonald’s is), I can certainly feel the pain of those Chinese folks who behave perfectly fine while traveling. We’ll see if this little guide book does anything to help the rest of them. According to these photos from Shanghailist, though, it looks like there’s still a lot of work to be done.
For more on China’s National Day holiday, check out this past post from the blog, and take a few minutes to watch this video about celebrating the big day in Tianamnen Square:
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