Top Festivals in China

Do you want to experience the various festivals in China? The colorful Lantern Festival with swathes of lanterns; the lively Dragon Boat Festival with exciting dragon boat races; the most important festival, the Spring Festival, which is also the Chinese New Year, full of the joy and warmth of reunion... Come on! This will definitely be a remarkable trip for you!

As one of the oldest countries in the world, China has nurtured a vast array of festivals in its wide and beautiful land. Lingering in these festivals, you can be immersed in a vibrant atmosphere with big crowds, watch interesting local performances, taste authentic Chinese food, and feel the traditional values behind cherishing reunion, respect for hard work, and love for nature.

Chinese New Year's Eve, 9th February, 2024 Chinese New Year's Eve refers to December 30th in the lunar calendar, which is the last day of the lunar year. On Chinese New Year's Eve, families would sit around and enjoy a grand New Year's Eve dinner, this is a reward for a year of hard work. Chinese favorites include steamed fish, stewed pork thighs, stewed lamb, dumplings, Chinese wine, etc. People will wrap a coin into a dumpling, and the person who eats the coin will get good luck. If you want to have a lively New Year's Eve dinner, book a Chinese restaurant in advance, many of which are still open on New Year's Eve and serve authentic Chinese cuisine.

After dinner, people usually come together to watch fireworks. You can see fireworks raining down by the Bund in Shanghai and by the Yangtze River in Wuhan, stay together with loved ones, spend the warmest and brightest night of the winter, and count until the New Year comes. Feel the joy of the people, which will eventually become your joy as well.

After the Chinese New Year's Eve is the coming Spring festival on January 1st of the lunar calendar, one of the most important traditional festivals in China, also known as the Chinese New Year. It is a day to welcome spring as well as the new year.

On the spring festival, you will find most people dressed in red, sending New Year wishes to each other. Many places hold temple fairs with dragon and lion dances, such as Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Xi'an. Supermarkets and streets are hung with red lanterns, the most popular color among the Chinese, symbolizing happiness and good fortune. New Year's music is playing in the supermarkets, and crowds of people are bustling around buying goods in large quantities: red-wrapped candies, dumplings, and new clothes. All kinds of beautiful red decorations are on sale: lanterns, window clings, red envelopes, and couplets. Take some of these souvenirs and decorate them at home. The bright red color will bring you luck!

Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) DecorationSpring Festival (Chinese New Year) Decoration

The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th of the first month of the lunar calendar, and it marks the end of the Chinese New Year.

As its name suggests, the Lantern Festival is a festival to see gorgeous lanterns. In some ancient cities, such as Beijing, Luoyang, and Xi'an, grand lantern fairs are held. The streets are filled with colorful lanterns with riddles to guess. Huge lanterns are placed in squares and rivers, and the streets are filled with a steady stream of people as if you have traveled to glorious ancient China.

There are also wonderful performances, such as striking iron flowers. Performers fling melted iron into the air, forming sparks more than ten meters high. Countless bright iron flowers light up the whole night sky. Try the delicious traditional food, Yuanxiao, which is glutinous rice balls covered with peanuts, sesame seeds, etc.

Colorful Lanterns in the Lantern FairsColorful Lanterns in the Lantern Fairs

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, and it was originally in honor of the ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan.

Guangzhou and Wuhan are great places to see dragonboat races. You will see boats with a mighty dragon head and brightly colored flags. As soon as the race begins, each team shouts slogans and paddles hard to move forward. The dragon boat truly becomes a dragon playing on the water. All kinds of sounds, slogans, drums, and cheers are about to turn the whole sky over. Just enjoy the fun of cheering and shouting for the dragon boat team with other people!

Also, you can taste the traditional food, zongzi. A zongzi is wrapped in large bamboo leaves, while the inside is stuffed with glutinous rice and other fillings. Sweet zongzi is filled with red dates and red beans, while savory zongzi is filled with chicken, pork, chestnuts, and more. Beautifully packaged rice dumplings are perfect for souvenirs.

Making Zongzi for the Dragon Boat FestivalMaking Zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival

Qixi Festival is a Chinese Valentine's Day with a long history. It is celebrated on the 7th of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It's a festival where you can pick up some fun and romance!

The two stars, Altair and Vega were believed to be a couple separated by the Queen Mother. It is only on the 7th of the seventh month that they get the chance to see each other across a bridge made by magpies.

During the festival, grand events will be held in ancient cities like Nanjing and Xi'an. Couples like to dress up in gorgeous traditional costumes and visit the bazaars. They will put down beautiful lanterns by the river, watch Altair and Vega, and pray for their love to last. At the fair, there will also be a god of love to hold a red thread for the couples. Other games and activities can also have you enjoy a series of joys: DIY book markers, making Qiao fruits - a sweet Qixi pasta, making red bean bracelets, etc.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, a day with a full moon, and families get together for a reunion.

There is a beautiful legend about the Mid-Autumn Festival. A woman named Chang'e accidentally drank an immortal medicine, flew up to the moon. From then on, her mortal husband started watching the moon and missing her on this day. Over time, the Mid-Autumn Festival gradually has the custom of appreciating the moon and missing loved ones.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, many cities hold beautiful fairs. Xi'an city can bring you back to the prosperous streets of the Tang Dynasty: wooden buildings filled with lanterns; people dressed in traditional clothes, recreating the hustle and bustle of ancient times. There are various moon-related activities. For example, make moon cakes. Moon cake is a pastry shaped like a moon to which you can add various fillings, such as salted egg yolk, lotus seed paste, etc. They are perfect as a souvenir or gift. Most importantly, you can see magnificent performances of beautiful Chinese art.

Night View of the Mid-Autumn FestivalNight View of the Mid-Autumn Festival

Double Ninth Festival, as the name suggests, is held on September 9th of the lunar calendar.

Climbing high is the most important custom in the Double Ninth Festival, which has the meaning of making steady progress. In China, there are many famous mountains. For example, Mount Tai is in Shandong Province, and Mount Huang is in Anhui Province. Autumn colors slowly fall on the foothills and turn them into a palette of yellows and greens. It will be very pleasant to see autumn colors at the Double Ninth Festival and enjoy a cool climate!

With the cool air and bright sunshine, the Double Ninth Festival has also developed the custom of flying paper kites. Kite flying can be seen in parks and lawns. If you want a lively kite gathering, go to Yangjiang, Guangdong! Rich in traditional and exquisite kites, this city can definitely feast your eyes. Finally, you can see beautiful chrysanthemums and Cornus officinalis, a plant with red fruits. It is believed that wearing cornus officinalis will protect people from illness.

Hungry Ghost Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, is a festival for remembering departed loved ones and holding rituals.

According to Chinese legend, the heavenly, earthly, and human realms will all be open during the Hungry Ghost festival. The ghosts will come out of the earthly realm, so the descendants in the human realm need to prepare food for their ancestors' ghosts.

A great activity on the Hungry Ghost Festival is to release water lanterns, which are said to light the path for ghosts. Great water lantern rituals can be seen in Chengdu in Sichuan province and Jinan in Shandong province. The lanterns are usually lotus-shaped and made of paper, with a candle in the center. One by one, lotus lanterns are put into rivers and lakes, composing a dazzling picture like the Milky Way.

The Qingming Festival is celebrated around April 4 every year, with two purposes: ancestor worship and trekking.

Qingming Festival is during the prosperous spring. Temperatures are gradually warming up, greenery is all revitalized and flowers are in full bloom. It's a perfect time for an outing! People gather in groups in parks, beside lakes, and on hillsides, chatting and picking up some delicious food.

Green rice ball is a specialty of the Qingming Festival and is made of glutinous rice flour with the juice of mugwort. It has a special fragrance when tasted. If you are a DIY lover, try making your own green rice ball, which will bring different fun to your culinary experience.

Explore Culture of China

Every festival is worth visiting because of its colorful activities, beautiful views, and, of course, the people who enjoy them. If you want to explore Chinese culture and enjoy time with lively crowds, come and catch the festival atmosphere in China!

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