As one of the world’s great cities, Shanghai has diligently organized many festivals and competitions for its population to enjoy. Whether it is a Dragon Boat Race or eating peaches at the Peach festival or watching the Ballet Competition, there is something for every expat family. In addition to the traditional Chinese festivals, Shanghai also celebrates the following ones:
|January||Chinese New Year|
|March||Longhua Temple Fair|
|April||Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival|
|April||Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival|
|May||Dragon Boat Festival, Putuo International Flower Festival, Shanghai International Fashion & Culture Festival; Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.|
|June||Shanghai Film Festival|
|August||Shanghai International Ballet Competition|
|September||Shanghai Tourism Festival; Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival; Shanghai Sweet-Osmanthus Festival|
|October||Shanghai International Art Festival; Shanghai Oranges Festival; Shanghai International Magic Festival; Shanghai International Tourism Trade Fair|
|November||Shanghai Television Festival; Shanghai Asian Music Festival; Shanghai Arts Fair;|
|December||Shanghai International Marathon; Shanghai Citizens Health Festival|
CHINESE NEW YEAR
Held on the first day of the first lunar month and lasting for two weeks, the spring festival is regarded by the Chinese people as the grandest and most important annual festival, similar in many ways to Christmas in predominantly Christian countries. It is an event for the Chinese people to celebrate family reunion and is full of colorful activities. On New Year’s Eve of the traditional Chinese calendar, hitting the Longhua Bell is a traditional event for Shanghai people to welcome the coming New Year. Hitting the bell 108 times is believed to dispel troubles and disasters, and is supposed to bring people good luck and longevity. The Jade Buda Temple is another interesting spot that gathers crowds of people during the New Year’s Eve.
LONGHUA TEMPLE FAIR
Every April, the entire temple area is packed with stalls selling Chinese food, crafts and more. The temple is elaborately decorated for the occasion, and it is said that dragons visit the temple to grant people’s wishes. Legend tells us that the laughing Buddha was born under the Longhua tree, preached Buddhism and saved people from secular sufferings. This later developed into a temple fair. Visit at night when the ancient temple, decorated spectacularly for the occasion, is lit up… It is a colorful fair with stalls, folk art, jugglers and stilt walkers, and is made all the more colorful by the blossoming of the peach flowers prevalent in the area at that time. Stalls surround the temple and thousands and thousands of people fight their way to the booths selling every kind of traditional Chinese food, crafts and almost everything else. Longhua Park is famous for its ancient temple, the Longhua pagoda, its evening bell-striking ceremony and beautiful peach blossoms.
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL TEA CULTURE FESTIVAL
An ancient Chinese book, Chuang-tzu, claims that the chief of a primeval tribe developed farming and medicine. Around 5,000 years ago, during his search for edible plants, he tasted many leaves, fruits, vegetables and roots. On one particular day he got poisoned 72 times. Fortunately he happened to eat some tea leaves as well.
The tea worked as an antidote for the poison. From then on, Chinese people discovered that the magical leaves could relieve thirst, refresh the mind and even cure some diseases. They began to drink the liquid stewed with tea leaves and the legend was born.
Held in April or May of each year, the history of The Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival goes back to when the Revolutionary History Exhibition Hall in Zhabei District opened the Songyuan Teahouse. The teahouse became an advocate of this traditional beverage – the get-togethers and seminars held at the teahouse became the inspiration for the festival.
SHANGHAI PEACH BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
The Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival is held annually in late March or early April in the expansive peach planting area in Nanhui District, a suburb of Shanghai. Chinese people have a special love for peaches and the peach blossom. The peach blossom, with its pleasant flowers, symbolizes life, growth and prosperity. The flowers, in a visual cascade of ascending or descending of colors, form a rosy sea. It is regarded as the most auspicious of all plants. The peach, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of long life and one of the strongest defenses against evil.
Since 1991, this festival signifies a combination of peach blossom appreciation and Chinese folk culture presentations, and has won much applause from visitors. Established in Huinan in Nanhui District, the Chengbei folk peach orchard is the main meeting-place of the Peach Blossom Festival. Chengbei folk peach orchard was set up in 2008 as a scenic spot for tourists from across the world.
THE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the Chinese 5th lunar month. Many beautiful stories all suggest the origin of this festival. But the most popular one is the legend of Qu Yuan who was a patriotic poet living in the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC). On this day, Chinese people like to eat Zongzi (rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) and race dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums.
SHANGHAI TOURISM FESTIVAL
Held annually in September and October, The Shanghai Tourism Festival offers a wide variety of traditional and not-so-traditional entertainment at venues across the city, including a rose wedding ceremony. There’s a real buzz of excitement about the place, especially during the colorful opening ceremony parade…
The opening ceremony parade consists of floats and performing teams of dancers and musicians. More than twenty floats of different styles and above twenty different performing square teams will perform the cultural dances and songs of different areas. Every September, the float parade can always attracts hundreds of thousands of people.
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
The Shanghai International Arts Festival always has a multitude of activities for families, including watching symphony orchestras, dance, opera, acrobatics, magic and drama from home and abroad. The festival lasts for 20 days.
The purpose of the China Shanghai International Arts Festival is to present the best cultures from around the world, to promote Chinese traditional arts, to enhance Sino-International cultural exchanges and to develop cultural markets.
SHANGHAI TELEVISION FESTIVAL
The International Film and TV Market of the Shanghai TV Festival is held in the Shanghai Exhibition Center in June of each year. It always attracts participation of hundreds of TV stations, producers and distributors from around the world. And hundreds of professional buyers from home and abroad are invited to take part in exchanges and discussions.
For many years, the International Film and TV Market of the Shanghai TV Festival has been recognized for its professionalism, internationalism, and pragmatism. The Market greatly contributes to multinational cooperation and media partnerships. Expats would enjoy seeing TV programs from perhaps their home country.
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION
Shanghai International Ballet Competition was China’s first international competition. The competition showcases works by international choreographers, classical ballets, and newer works that use classical technique and Chinese folk dance to tell Chinese folk stories, often with folk accoutrements. A very popular ballet is the White-haired Girl which is the most frequently requested work on tours with more than 1300 performances.
A total of 19 prizes are given out which have a value of more than 750,000 RMB. The highest prize in the competition is known as the Great China Prize which is estimated to be worth 15,000 US dollars.