Chinese Public Holidays in 2020

by | January 8, 2020

Chinese Public Holidays in 2020

January 8, 2020

Now that the Western holiday season is over, it is a perfect moment to inform you about when the Chinese public holidays in 2020 are, and the reasons behind them. During public holidays in China everyone has time off and most offices will be closed. It is important to keep these dates in mind when doing business in and with China, since communication and productivity will be slow.

 

Chinese Public Holidays in 2020

 

Chinese New Year, 25th of January

The first of the Chinese public holidays in 2020 is Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year celebrates the new year on the traditional Chinese Calendar. It is often referred to as the “Spring Festival” and its date varies according to the lunar calendar. Every year it falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20. In 2020, the new year will start on the 25th of January. Furthermore, it is one of the Chinese golden weeks, which are full weeks off marked by a lot of travelers.

During Chinese New Year the Zodiac animal will switch from the pig to the rat. In Chinese culture, rats are the symbol of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples pray to them for children. The Chinese Zodiac calendar has 12 animals, once every 12 years it is your animal’s turn. Moreover, the calendar has 5 nature elements, namely fire, wood, metal, earth, and water, thus once every 60 years the zodiac animal matches the element you were born under. Whenever this happens to someone there is a special celebration.

The holiday usually lasts for 7 days, however only 5 working days are given off. This means that there are ‘special working’ days during weekends. This year, Sunday January 19th and Saturday February 1st are official working days.

During the Spring Festival, people celebrate the last day of the year with their relatives. Similar to Western countries people celebrate New Year’s with fireworks, however this is increasingly banned. During the first day of the New Year, people go to temple fairs in parks. For example, in Beijing, many people go to Ditan Park. Customarily, people give each other a ‘Hongbao’ or red envelope with a lucky amount of money. Interestingly, something you cannot do is sweep your home, since this means you will ‘sweep your luck away’.

 

Women’s Day, 8th of March

Every year the International Women’s Day is celebrated in China. Originally it was used to celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women in China and the labor force. However, over the years this meaning of Women’s day has diminished, and it has more turned into a day similar to Valentine’s Day. Men buy flowers and presents to for the women they love, such as their spouses and mothers. Normally, Chinese women get half a day off work on Women’s Day.  However, this year Women’s Day falls on a sunday, and therefore no additional time off is given.

 

Qingming Festival, 4th of April

The next of the Chinese public holidays in 2020 is the Qingming Festival. This holiday is about remembering your ancestors. Chinese families often visit family tombs and clean them. Hence, it is also called ‘Tomb Sweeping Day’. Due to this reason, April 4, 2020 is a day off. It has been celebrated by Chinese for over 2500 years, but it has only become an official day off since 2008. After the long winter, the spring is in full flair making people enjoying walking in parks and flying kites. Therefore, it is a unique combination between the sadness of remembering ancestors and enjoying spring.

 

May Day or Labor Day, 1st of May

As in many other countries, May 1st is Labor Day and since 2019, 4 days are given off. This year, however, since New Year’s Day only accounts for one free day instead of two, 5 days will be given off, meaning that the holiday will last from May 1st until May 5th. To compensate, Sunday April 26th and Saturday May 9th are official working days. Labor Day has been celebrated in China since 1950, and it has been a public holiday since 2000.

Previously, the week of Labor Day was one of the three Chinese golden weeks, however in 2007 the time off was reduced to only one day, in favor of adding the Qingming, Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn Festivals as public holidays. In 2019, the May Day holiday had been extended to a 4-day holiday. Due to the warm, enthusiastic response of the public last year, New Year’s extra day off has been moved to this year’s May Day holiday, making it last 5 days.

 

Children’s Day, 1st of June

Children’s Day, originally established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation in 1949, has in China always been celebrated as a happy holiday for children to spend quality time with friends and family. China’s Children’s day is observed on a different day than most countries. In China Children’s day is observed on the 1st of June, while Children’s day is celebrated on the 20th of November in other countries. All Children below the age of 14 celebrate Children’s Day and get a day off school. However, it is not only celebrated by children, but also used by young adults to celebrate and remember their childhood. People who do this, often go shopping or have dinner with friends. For the ultimate childhood experience, many go for a happy meal at McDonalds!

 

Dragon Boat Festival, 25th of June

The Dragon boat festival, which will be held on June 25 2020, is a spectacular sight in Southern China. During the festival, Chinese Dragon boats race side by side and this is a spectacular sight to see. Rowing is especially popular in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong & Fujian. The festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month every year, and usually 3 days are given off. This year, the holiday will last from June 25th until June 27th. To compensate, Sunday June 28th is an official working day.

However, the day is not only about the rowing, it is also about eating ‘Zongzi’. These are sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fillings on the inside differ per region; in Northern China they are often sweet, as opposed to savory in the South. Like more lunar calendar events, Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated outside Mainland China as well. For example, in Singapore, Malaysia and Korea albeit under different names.

 

Teacher’s Day, 10th of September

As a country with a culture in which respect for teachers has always been very important, China also celebrates Teacher’s Day. For hundreds of years, it has been celebrated in numerous different forms throughout China. Since 1985, it has been awarded national status, and since then festive events have been held on September 10th. On this day, award ceremonies take place and pupils give flowers and gifts to their mentors. All over the country, children thank their teachers for their hard work and show their appreciation.

 

Mid-Autumn Festival, 1st of October

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the traditional harvest festival. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which corresponds to October 1st in 2020. Furthermore, it is also known as the ‘Moon Festival’ due the full moon and the worshipping thereof. Specifically, it originates from Emperors worshipping the bright moon every year. Incidentally, this year the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the same day as Chinese National day

Traditionally people light and carry lanterns during the day, which makes for a festive sight. Moreover, people often give and eat mooncakes. A rich pastry filled with a variety of fillings such as salted duck egg yolks, sweet bean pastes or even roses. Nowadays, it is customary for businessmen and families to present mooncakes to their clients and/or relatives. This tradition has been picked up globally with for example luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton creating their own mooncakes.

 

Chinese National Day, 1st of October

The last of the Chinese public holidays in 2020 is the National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Coincidentally, this year, it falls on the same day as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Chinese National Day has been celebrated every year on October 1, since the founding of the PRC on October 1, 1949 on Tiananmen Square by Chairman Mao. It is also called ‘the National Day Golden Week’, similarly to the Spring Festival golden week.

The holiday starts with rising the flag at sunrise at Tiananmen Square. Although the flag rising ceremony happens every day, this day is obviously special. Many companies hang red lanterns to celebrate and there is a big China National Day Parade, broadcasted nationally.

The Holiday lasts the whole first week of October, and because it coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, an extra day will be given off, meaning that the holiday lasts from October 1st until October 8th. To compensate, Sunday September 27 and Saturday October 10 are official working days.

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