Chinese Holidays in 2017
Chinese Holidays in 2017
Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Around 30 years ago, Chinese New Year did not matter to the Western world, let alone any of the Chinese holidays. In the present day many companies in the world depend on China. The Western economic world depends on Chinese suppliers and Chinese clients. Starting today, all companies working with Chinese counter parts receive out of office replies.
As many know, nothing is the same in China. So besides Chinese New Year, there are several other unique Chinese Holidays. All these holidays have a specific significance and importance to Chinese people and therefore have impact on business with Chinese.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a New Year celebration according to the Chinese calendar. The Chinese calendar counts days, months and years according to astronomic phenomena. Each year is connected to one of twelve specific Chinese Zodiac signs. The upcoming zodiac is the rooster.
Traditionally the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year for 23 days. Many traditional, rural Chinese use this period to clean their houses for the New Year. However the official holiday days according to the government takes 7 days including a weekend. Two of those working days need to be compensated in a weekend by working.
Chinese New Year is known to be the largest human migration in the world. The people search out relatives for the celebration of the New Year. They decorate their houses with red ornaments and pictures of the zodiac. Many believe eating fish is a must. The word fish resembles the word surplus and is therefore a good luck charm for luck and money. There are many more traditions and superstitions including fireworks.
As a Westerner, it is crucial to remember that all work stops before, during and after Chinese New Year. The whole Chinese society comes to a halt. Make sure your stock is replenished well ahead of this holiday. Furthermore it is appreciated if you issue your Chinese connections wishes for the New Year. A gift is always considered thoughtful. Doubting what to give? Stir away from some specific gifts including sharp objects.
In these modern days, Chinese tend to use their mobile devices to convey greetings to each other. In the past a text message sufficed, but in the modern days it is popular to use Wechat. Wechat has the option to send your friends red packets. Red packets are digital Hongbao’s with an amount of cash in it.
During the International day for women, on March the 8th, all Chinese ladies are allowed to take half of the day off. Chinese women are treated with extra care. Men buy presents to their female relatives and arrange festive dinners or other parties. If you have female employees, it is a great moment to treat them extra well.
Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming festival)
This 2,500 year old tradition is a day of sacrifice. It takes place in the beginning of April and usually includes three days off. During the first day, people honour their ancestors. By offering food, drinks, incense and joss paper (resembles money) they show their respect. Currently the tradition is simplified, many Chinese just bring flowers to the graves.
The Qingming festival is also named the Taqing festival, which means spring outing. It is to celebrate the coming of better weather. An important part of the Qingming festival is kite flying.
As a Westerner, you have to know that it is a public holiday. The Chinese will spend the time with relatives and friends. Qingming cakes are a good gift to give.
Although originally an American holiday, it is still an official holiday in the Chinese calendar. On the first of May, Chinese are off from work.
Dragon boat festival
This folk holiday in May or June is thought to originate from dragon worshipping. The festival has been on the official holiday calendar since 2008. The boat racing originates from a sad legend. The famous poet Qu Yuan (343–278 BC) drowned himself in the Miluo River. In order to find him, people paddled or raced out their boats to find him.
Racing the boats is the most important tradition of this holiday. The dragon boats are 20-30 meters long and needs between 40 and 60 rowers. Following the beat of a drum, they race towards victory. It is said that the victor will have luck in the following year.
The Dragon boat festival takes up three days. As a foreigner it is great to visit such a race. The most famous races are either on the Miluo river, Hong Kong, Guizou, Guangzhou or in Hangzhou. Be sure to also eat some sticky rice dumplings and drink some realgar wine.
National Day Holiday (Golden Week)
On the first of October in 1949 the People’s Republic of China was inaugurated. In recent years, the holiday has been extended from 1 day to a full week. On the first of October each year, there is a flag raising ceremony on Tiananmen Square. At sunrise, uniformed troops march on the square.
The nickname Golden Week comes from a commercial aspect of the holiday. During the holiday, Chinese spend a lot on tourism and retail, thus bringing the biggest turnover to stores and retail companies.
As a Westerner, it is important to know that nothing happens in China during this week. When you are in China, avoid crowded areas. Once every five years, the Mid-Autumn festival falls right during the Golden Week. Then the holiday is extended with an extra two days.
For the Chinese, this festival is focussed on family reunion and peace. The 3,000-year-old celebration is traditionally a harvest festival and originates from full moon worshipping. The festival is either in September or in October.
The single most important type of food during this festival is Mooncake. These round-shaped cakes are filled with a sweet and dense filling. Giving Mooncake is a great way to honour your Chinese employees, friends and relations.
Although not an official day on the holiday calendar of China, it still deserves a special mentioning. Singles day on the 11-11 (11th of October), is Black Friday on steroids. Chinese use this period to buy goods online. The amount of money spent online is staggering, in 2016 the Chinese spent more online in one day then the Brazilians do in a year.
If you are looking to sell online in China, make sure you bulk up towards singles day.
Western New Year
The Chinese also get an official day off on the first of January. Although officially not one of the Chinese holidays, it is still celebrated in China.
Below you can find an overview of all Chinese holidays. Make sure you take these dates in account, because they will delay business with Chinese. For Chinese people, these Chinese holidays are really important. Considering the traditions and making sure you give your Chinese relations some extra care is highly valued. Such gestures could be the difference towards becoming successful in China.
|Holiday||Period in 2017|
|Western New Years Day||1st of Jan (+2nd for Sunday compensation)|
|Chinese New Year||27th of Jan till 2nd of Feb|
|Womens day||8th of Mar (half a day off for women)|
|Qingming Festival||2nd till 4th of Apr|
|Labour Day||1st of May|
|Dragon Boat Festival||28th till 30th of May|
|National Day Holiday||1st till 6th of Oct|
|Mid-Autumn Festival||4th of Oct|
Michael got acquainted with China when his sister was adopted in 1996. His first trip to China was in 2008, visiting the Olympics and his parents, who live in Beijing. In 2011 Michael joined the team of 1421 Consulting Group, as Business Development Manager Europe. He has helped to establish 1421 Consulting Group in the international market as a respected consultancy assisting western companies doing business with China. Since October he became the group CEO.
What happened in the year 1421?
From 1421 to 1423, during the Ming Dynasty of China under Emperor Zhu Di (朱棣) the fleets of Admiral Zheng He (鄭和), commanded by the Chinese captains, discovered Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Antarctica, the Northeast Passage; and circumnavigated Greenland.
Due to this endeavour we can conclude that “1421 is the year that the Chinese discover the world”.