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List of Festivals in China

China is a land full of activity and life. There are a variety of festivals taking place around the year in China. Some important festivals in China that are celebrated with great enthusiasm and tradition are the Spring Festival (coinciding with the Chinese New Year), the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn festival and the Winter Solstice marks the progress of time.

Given below is a list of important festivals in China:

Spring Festival

Time: First day in the first lunar month, which falls in the month of January.

The Spring festival is the most eminent festival of all the traditional Chinese festivities. It emanated from the sacrificial ceremony, held briefly after the winter solstice.  It originated during the early Xia Dynasty (21st-16th century BC), while China was still in a primitive society. A lot of dining and wining takes place during the festival.  Chinese people visit each other and exchange New Year’s greetings during this festival. Lantern shows and dances, such as, dragon, lion, and yangge dances are performed in both urban and rural parts of China.

Preparing paper cut decorations are also an important component of this festival. People decorate their houses with different cuttings which portray Chinese opera characters, flowers, birds, insects and fishes. Another major part of the Chinese Spring Festival custom involves, writing New Year couplets on strips of red paper.  A special kind of Chinese food,  known as ‘dumplings’ or ‘Jiaozi’, is prepared during this festival. Usually, the natives of north China celebrate various festivals by preparing and eating dumplings.

Lantern Festival

Time: Fifteenth day of the 1st lunar month, which falls in the month of February

The Lantern Festival originated in the Han Dynasty, and it is celebrated at the end of New Year celebrations. Houses are adorned with colorful lanterns, bearing symbols of good fortune, happiness and health. Traditionally, the food of the lantern festival has been sweet variety of dumplings, which epitomizes family reunion.

Dragon Boat Festival

Time: Fifth day of the fifth lunar month

The Dragon Boat festival is celebrated in China in honor of a former scholar, poet and a patriot, Ch’u Yuan, who lived in the third century B.C. The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth moon or on the fifth month of the lunar calendar, and for the same reason it is sometimes called Double Five Day.

The festival has a long exciting myth attached to it. According to legends, Ch’u Yuan used to advise his king wisely but the king did not want to take his advices, so Ch’u Yuan was banished to an isolated village. Thereafter, Ch’u Yuan survived for seven years during which he wrote scholarly books. On the fifth day of the fifth month of the seventh year, upon hearing that all his predictions had come true, he drowned himself in a river, in an act of despair. Some fishermen who had seen him leap into the river took their boats and attempted to save him.   Meanwhile,the fishermen’s wives wrapped cooked rice in banana leaves and threw the rice balls into the river hoping that the fish would eat them instead of Ch’u Yuan’s body.

On the occasion of the Dragon Boat Festival, the Chinese people still eat special rice balls called tsungs, throw some of the rice balls into the river as an offering to the spirit of Ch’u Yuan, and hold dragon boat races to the beat of drums, in order to re-create and exhibit the incident of the search of Ch’u Yuan’s body.

Qing Ming Festival

Time: In the month of April

The Qing Ming festival is celebrated in the month of April, and this day is devoted to honour dead relatives. Thousands of Chinese people visit cemeteries to clean the graves of their loved ones, to touch up gravestone inscriptions, and to make offerings of wine and fruit as a part of the festival.

Some other major Chinese festivals other than the above mentioned are listed below:

  • Qingdao Int’l Beer Festival
  • Zigong Lantern Show
  • Shoton Festival in Tibet
  • Qintong Boat Festival in Yangzhou
  • Xinjiang Grape Festival
  • Qintong Boat Festival in Yangzhou
  • Xinjiang Grape Festival
  • Spring Flower Fair
  • Shaolin Int’l Martial Arts Festival
  • Water Splashing Festival
  • Dalian Int’l Fashion Festival
  • Hainan Int’l Coconut Festival
  • Zhangjiajie Int’l Forest Festival
  • Luoyang Peony Festival
  • Qufu Int’l Confucian Festival
  • Goddess Mazu Festival
  • Mid-Autumn Festival ( Moon Festival)
  • Weifang Int’l Kite Festival
  • Mt. Huangshan Festival
  • Chang’an Calligraphic Conference
  • Guizhou Azalea Festival
  • Jingdezhen Int’l Ceramics Festival
  • Qinghai Folk Song Festival
  • Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
  • Wutai Mountain Tourist Month
  • The Corban Festival
  • Nadam Tourist Festival

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