China's Public Holidays in 2016

Posted by Lilian Li on April 11, 2016

Chinese Cooking Terms


In Chinese, we call holidays 假期 "jià qī". Do you know how many legal holidays are in China and how to say these holidays in Chinese? Today, we'll take a look at seven Chinese legal festivals in a year. On these public holidays all Chinese people will be on vacation.

1. Jan 1st – Jan 3rd, 2016: 元旦 (yuán dàn) New Year's Day

New Year's Day is called 元旦 "yuán dàn", which is the first day of the new year. All the Chinese people will have one day of legal holiday, but normally it will be 3 days off. (One legal day off plus one weekend).

2. Feb 7th – Feb 14th, 2016: 春节 (chūn jié) Spring Festival/"Chinese New Year"

The Worldwide Spring Festival 春节 "chūn jié" is based on the Lunar Calendar, and it marks a grand celebration both in Mainland China and also among Chinese communities worldwide. Most people who are not Chinese refer to this festival as "Chinese New Year" For each year, the day of Chinese New Year is different and all the people in China enjoy 7 days of public holiday (the first three days of the first lunar month plus two weekends). The date of Spring Festival in 2016 falls on Feb 7th. For 2016, the holiday is from Feb 7th to Feb 14th. During this time, Chinese people usually return their hometown to enjoy a yearly celebration of union with their family. For some, this is the only time that they are able to see their family all year.

3. Apr 2nd - Apr 4th, 2016: 清明节 (qīnɡ mínɡ jié) Tomb-sweeping Festival

Tomb-sweeping Festival or 清明节 "qīnɡ mínɡ jié" in Chinese, means pure brightness in English. This day, usually falls on April 4 or 5, the Chinese family will visit their ancestors and sweep their tombs, clearing away leaves and dirt as a means of paying respect and reverence to their ancestors; during this time, people take the chance to go outside and start enjoying the livelihood of spring.

4. April 30th – May 2nd, 2016: 五一 (wǔyī) Labor's Day

"wǔ yī láo dòng jié" 五一劳动节 (or "wǔ yī" for short), meaning May 1st. Before 2008, the legal holiday period for "wǔ yī" was 7 days, this period was a secondary long holiday for Chinese people that they would often use to travel. However, the previous 7 days' "golden week" shortened to 3 legal days off after 2007.

5. June 9th – June 11th, 2016: 端午节 (duān wǔ jié) Dragon Boat Festival

This festival - also known as Duanwu Festival "duān wǔ jié" 端午节; falls on the fifth day of May in the lunar calendar. It can be dated back to more than 2,000 and is of great educational influence. The festival is held annually to remember the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC). Almost all the Chinese festivals are linked with great food, "duān wǔ jié" is no exception. By celebrating "duān wǔ jié", people typically eat zòng zi, which is a rice pudding wrapped with banana leaves and with several kinds of ingredients in it, such as red beans, pock, sausages and nuts.

6. Sep 15th – Sep 17th, 2016: 中秋节(zhōnɡ qiū jié)Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival "zhōng qiū jié 中秋节", which is the 15th day of August in the lunar calendar. Is celebrated in the middle of autumn and is the second biggest festival after the Spring Festival in China. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, for we can witness the roundest and brightest moon at that time of the year. And people will eat specially made moon cake, both sweet and salty ones.

7. Oct 1st - Oct 7th, 2016: 国庆节(ɡuó qìnɡ jié) National Day

Like "wǔ yī", the National Day is also called "shí yī" for short, meaning October 1st. This holiday marks the day of the establishment of the People's Republic of China, beginning in 1949. Chinese people have 7 days off for this holiday, which is the only "golden week" within the year. The National Day is called "guó qìng jié" 国庆节.

So, after today's studay, do you have a general idea about China's public holiday? If you want to get more information about China's holiday or Chinese festival, welcome to join our Chinese culture course!


About The Author

Lilian Li

Lilian Li has a master's degree in linguistics and didactics from Rennes University in France. An expert in linguistics and educational psychology, she has taught Chinese as a foreign language for several years, primarily in France.

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