Traditions Guide Beijing

There are 7 official holidays/festivals each year when banks and businesses are closed and everyone is on vacation. In addition, there are days honoring women and children and on those dates, the honored party has off for a half-day.

Some festivals are based on the lunar calendar and change each year. For a description of each holiday/festival, please see below the chart.

Holiday Date 2021 2022 2023
New Year’s Day January 1 January 1-3 January 1-3 January 1-3
Spring Festival Based on Lunar Cycle Falls on Feb. 10
Holiday from Feb. 9-15
Falls on Jan. 31
Holiday from Jan. 30-Feb. 5
Falls on Feb. 19
Holiday from Feb. 18-24
Women’s Day
For All Women
March 8 Half-Day off March 8 Half-Day off March 8 Half-Day off March 8
Qingming Festival April 4 or 5 Falls on Apr. 4
Holiday from Apr. 4-6
Falls on Apr. 5
Holiday from Apr. 4-6
Falls on Apr.
Holiday from Apr. 4-6
May Day May 1 Apr. 29-May 1 May 1-3 May 1-3
Youth Day
For Youth above 14 years old
May 4 Half-Day off May 4 Half-Day off May 4 Half-Day off May 4
Children’s Day
For Children under 13 years old
June 1 June 1 June 1 June 1
Dragon Boat Festival Fifth Day of the 5th Lunar Month Falls on June 12
Holiday from June 10-12
Falls on June 2
Holiday from May 31-June 2
Falls on June 20
Holiday from June 20-22
Mid-Autumn Day Based on Lunar Cycle Falls on Sep. 19
Holiday from Sep. 19-21
Falls on Sep. 8
Holiday from Sep. 6-8
Falls on Sep. 27
Holiday from Sep. 26-28
National Day October 1 Oct. 1-7 Oct. 1-7 Oct. 1-7

New Year’s Day: Celebration of the New Year.

Spring Festival: Also known as the Lunar/Chinese New Year season. For millions of Asians, Chinese New Year is more than one special day but instead, lasts about 15 days. Fireworks display, lion and dragon dancing, and temple fairs are all a part of the festival period. This is a time for the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old and to welcome in the new year. Families spend weeks preparing for the big event: cleaning house, painting doors and windows red, and cooking special foods. The holiday filled with visits with family and friends. This is the one time a year many families reunite. Children will receive red envelopes stuffed with money as a gift.

Qingming (Tomb Sweeping) Festival: Traditionally, this is a time to visit ancestral graves and “sweep the tombs” of the deceased to show respect. Families honor the memory of their ancestors by performing standard gravesite maintenance such as removing debris from the gravestones and replacing dead flowers. They will also offer gifts of food, fruit, and wine to the departed. Another tradition is to burn incense to ward off any evil spirits that may be lurking.

May Day: International Labor Day. Employees will enjoy a paid day-off to celebrate workers. A flag-raising ceremony and other celebration parties may take place in public parks.

Dragon Boat Festival: The Dragon Boat Festival is China’s oldest festival. The festival is said to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, the famous Chinese poet and patriot. Qu Yuan was a high court official of the State of Chu in the period of the warring states. He wrote beautiful and passionate poems for his country, against the evil officials. When he committed suicide by drowning in a river, villagers tried to entice the fish to stay away from his body by sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the water.

Mid-Autumn Festival: When the autumn harvest moon is at its fullest, the Chinese celebrate by lighting colorful lanterns and enjoying delicious mooncakes, which are round like the moon and symbolizes reunion. The Mid-autumn festival is one of the two most important occasions in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year). It is a time for families to be together, and according to tradition, a time for people far away from home to gaze at the moon and think about their families.

National Day: Chinese National Day celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Celebrations usually take the form of parties in amusement parks by day and fireworks and grand TV ensembles during the evening. Employees enjoy two paid days-off.