Traditional Chinese holidays

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The traditional Chinese holidays are an essential part of harvests or prayer offerings. The most important Chinese holiday is the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), which is also celebrated in Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. All traditional holidays are scheduled according to the Chinese calendar (except the Qing Ming and Winter Solstice days, falling on the respective Jie qi in the Agricultural calendar).

Date (Chinese Lunar Calendar) English Name Chinese Name Remarks
Last day of lunar year Chinese New Year Eve  • 除夕
 • 大年夜
1st day of 1st Month Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)  • 農曆新年 / 农历新年
 • 春節 / 春节
 • 大年初一
fireworks after midnight, visit family members.
15th day of 1st Month Lantern Festival  • 元宵節 / 元宵节
 • 小年
Lantern parade and lion dance celebrating the first full moon. Eating tangyuan. This day is also the last day of new year celebration.
2nd day of 2nd Month Zhonghe Festival (Blue Dragon Festival)  • 中和節 / 中和节
 • 青龍節 / 青龙节
Eat Chinese pancakes (Chun bing, 春餅) and noodles, clean the house. Also known as Dragon Raising its Head
3rd day of 3rd Month Shangsi Festival 上巳節 / 上巳节 Traditional Chinese Women's Day, also known as 婦女節(fùnǚjié)
At the Qingming solar term, solar longitude of 15°, 104 days after winter solstice (around 5 April) Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, Clear and Bright Festival) 清明節 / 清明节 Visit, clean, and make offerings at ancestral gravesites, spring outing
5th day of 5th Month Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival) 端午節 / 端午节 Dragon boat race, eat dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves Zongzi. This festival commemorates the ancient poet Qu Yuan; drink yellow rice wine, related to the White Snake Lady legend
7th day of 7th Month Qixi Festival (The Night of Sevens, Magpie Festival) 七夕 According to legend, the goddess "Zhi Nü" (the star Vega) fell in love with the farmer boy "Niu Lang" (the star Altair), but was disapproved by her mother goddess. As punishment, they were separated by the Milky Way and could only meet once a year on this night.
15th day of 7th Month Ghost Festival 中元節 / 中元节 Burn fake paper money and make offerings to ancestors and the dead to comfort them in the afterlife and keep them from troubling the living.
15th day of 8th month Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) 中秋節 / 中秋节 Eat mooncake, family union meal, related to the legend of Chang E and The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd
9th day of 9th Month Double Ninth Festival (Chongyang Festival) 重陽節 / 重阳节 Autumn outing and mountain climbing, some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects.
15th of 10th Month Spirit Festival / Water Lantern Festival 下元節 / 下元节 Set flower shaped lanterns adrift in a stream or river at sundown, give offerings to deceased whose wandering spirits/ghosts may return at night to visit.
December 21 or 22nd Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice Festival) 冬至 Have Tangyuan and Jiuniang and perform ancestor worship, Feast day, family gatherings, also named "Chinese Thanksgiving"
8th Day of 12 Month Laba Festival 臘八節 / 腊八节 This is the day the Buddha attained enlightenment. People usually eat Laba congee, which is made of mixed grains and fruits.

Dates for Chinese Traditional Festivals (2008-2015)

Spring (New Year) Lantern Azure Dragon Shang­si Qing Ming Dragon Boat Double Seventh  Ghost  Mid-​Autumn Double Ninth Water Lan­tern Winter   Laba  
2008 Feb 7 Feb 21 Mar 9 Apr 8 Apr 4 Jun 9 Aug 7 Aug 15 Sep 14 Oct 7 Nov 12 Dec 4 Jan 3*
2009 Jan 26 Feb 9 Feb 26 Mar 29 Apr 4 May 28 Aug 26 Sep 3 Oct 3 Oct 26 Dec 1 Dec 22 Jan 22*
2010 Feb 14 Feb 28 Mar 17 Apr 16 Apr 5 Jun 16 Aug 16 Aug 24 Sep 22 Oct 16 Nov 20 Dec 12 Jan 11*
2011 Feb 3 Feb 17 Mar 6 Apr 5 Apr 5 Jun 6 Aug 6 Aug 14 Sep 12 Oct 5 Nov 10 Dec 1 Jan 1*
2012 Jan 23 Feb 6 Feb 23 Mar 24 Apr 4 Jun 23 Aug 23 Aug 31 Sep 30 Oct 23 Nov 28 Dec 21 Jan 19*
2013 Feb 10 Feb 24 Mar 13 Apr 12 Apr 4 Jun 12 Aug 13 Aug 21 Sep 19 Oct 13 Nov 17 Dec 9 Jan 8*
2014 Jan 31 Feb 14 Mar 2 Apr 2 Apr 5 Jun 2 Aug 2 Aug 10 Sep 8 Oct 2 Dec 6 Dec 28 Jan 27*
2015 Feb 19 Mar 5 Mar 21 Apr 21 Apr 5 Jun 20 Aug 20 Aug 28 Sep 27 Oct 21 Nov 26 Dec 17 Jan 17*
* denotes the following Gregorian civil year[1]

Public holidays

Traditional holidays are generally celebrated in Chinese speaking regions. For the most part however, only Chinese New Year, Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival are statutory public holidays. This is the case in both mainland China and Taiwan whilst Hong Kong and Macau also observe Buddha's Birthday and Chung Yeung Festival. In Singapore, Chinese New Year is the only traditional Chinese public holiday likewise with Malaysia

Each region has its own holidays on top of this condensed traditional Chinese set. Mainland China and Taiwan observe patriotic holidays, Hong Kong and Macau observe Christian holidays, and Malaysia and Singapore celebrate Malay and Indian festivals.

See also


  1. Dates in table (with exception of Qing Ming) converted to Gregorian civil calendar using the Calendrical Calculations applet, 2010-01-05.

External links