China is undoubtedly one of the countries that has preserved its rich culture, awesome history and unique traditions. These are strongly shown in their festivals that attract not only the Chinese, but also many foreign travelers from all over the world. Besides the Chinese New Year which is widely known, there are other popular festivals in China that are interesting to learn about.
1. Chinese New Year / Spring Festival
This is undoubtedly one of the most important and longest Chinese festivals. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, usually takes place for 7 days, and the celebration lasts at least 2 weeks. The celebration begins on New Year’s Eve when families gather to eat together. After dinner, it is customary for the whole family to sit, talk and play games until midnight to welcome the New Year.
2. Lantern Festival
The lantern festival is the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration period. According to the name itself, this festival will look at the moon and send flying lanterns. These beautiful lanterns come in different sizes and shapes with unique designs and colors. They shine so brightly in the evening and this attracts many people from all over the world.
3. Tomb Sweeping Day
Tomb Sweeping Day or the Qingming Festival is the time when the Chinese visit graves and cemeteries to pay to their ancestors. Han Chinese and some other Chinese ethnic minorities make sacrifices to their relatives who have already left this world.
4. Dragon Boat Festival
During the Dragon Boat Festival, people gather to watch and participate in the most popular activity of that day, the dragon boat race. This is especially popular in the southern part of China. This is also the time when people eat rice balls, it is glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves.
5. Festival Of The Ghosts Of Hunger
Another famous Chinese festival is the Hungry Ghost Festival. It is a traditional Taoist and Buddhist festival where people believe that the seventh month is when restless spirits roam the Earth. There are certain ceremonies that are done during this festival, including the preparation of food offerings, the burning of incense and the burning of objects for the visiting spirits of expired ancestors.
6. Mid-Autumn Celebration
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is the second most important festival in China. It occurs in the middle of the autumn season when the moon is at its maximum and shines brightest. It also symbolizes the time of reunion for families, just like Thanksgiving Day. There is a popular tradition where people eat mooncakes during this festival, which is why you can also call others the “Mooncake Festival”.
Another must-see traditional Chinese festival. The winter solstice falls on the shortest day and the longest night of the year, on December 21 or 22. Meanwhile, it is common for people to visit each other, eat dumplings, common in the northern regions and with sticky puddings in the southern regions. They are a must if you are in the country during this festival.
8. Double Seventh Day
Also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, the Double Seventh Day falls on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, hence the name. It is connected with a romantic legend in China and during this festival women will show their crafts and wish a good husband. On the other hand, men give flowers to women. Young couples usually go on a date and celebrate this day.