Lantern Festival

10 Major Traditional Chinese Holidays

You may have heard of Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival. Those are the three biggest holidays we celebrate in Chinese culture. But there are more traditional Chinese holidays in a year. We are going to introduce 10 important traditional Chinese holidays in this article, along with an infographic that you can download!

Chinese New Year's Eve
Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday among all of the Chinese holidays. By preparing for the new year, people start cleaning their house a few days beforehand. Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner is for the whole family, that includes the extended family. But it mainly refers to the male side’s family. For example, a father will bring his wife and children back to his own parents’ home. And all of his brothers will also do the same (but not the sisters). 

After family reunion dinner, people usually stay up late until midnight. Some regions light the firecrackers right after midnight while other regions light the firecrackers first thing on New Year’s morning. 

There are many other activities during the Chinese New Year celebration, including preparing food and snacks for Chinese New Year, giving the younger generation red envelopes, visiting relatives, and more. We have a post that talks more in depth about Chinese New Year. Check out what 13 Traditional Chinese New Year Activities are.

元宵节 Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival

“元宵节 yuánxiāo jié” is the Chinese name for Lantern Festival. It falls on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. It is also the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration (from Chinese New Year’s Eve to Lantern Festival). 

You can find red lanterns everywhere, outside of houses, stores, and on the streets. Some cities and stores will host Lantern events. They would decorate a certain area with lanterns for people to admire. Lantern riddles are really popular, too. Traditionally, the riddle will be under the red lantern. 

清明节 Qingming

Qīngmíng

It falls on April 4th or 5th of the Gregorian calendar

There are some activities that take place on Qingming, which include tomb sweeping and field trips with family. 

During the Qingming Festival, people will have a day off. Many people will go to the parents or close relative’s tomb as a whole family, they will bring cleaning tools to clean the surrounding area of the gravesite. They may also buy some flowers and fruits to pay their respects. 

Because Qingming falls in early April, it is also the beginning of the spring. If the weather permits, families will also stay outdoors to have picnics or fly kites.   

端午节 Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese is “端午节 duānwǔ jié.” It falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. 

Many activities are involved during this time, like dragon boat racing, eating zongzi, and more. If you would like to know what other activities we do on this day, check out this Dragon Boat Festival article and infographic to learn more! 

七夕 Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine Day)

qixi

Qixi (七夕 qīxì) Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. 

We have some fun and pretty infographics about this beautiful day. 

How Chinese Actually Express I Love You In Mandarin Chinese

Valentine’s Day – Related Vocabulary

Relationship Related Chinese Slang

中秋节 Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 zhōngqiū jié) is on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Since the lunar calendar follows the position of the moon, it will always be a night with a full moon on this special day.

We made an infographic and article to talk about the Mid-Autumn Festival in more detail.

重阳节 Double Ninth Festival

Double Ninth Festival in Chinese is “重阳节 chóngyáng jié” It literally means “double or repeat Yang festival.” It falls on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar. 

Because the pronunciation of number 9 is the same as “久, long,” it represents long life. Therefore the Double Ninth Festival is also the holiday where we celebrate for the senior citizens.

冬至 Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Winter solstice in Chinese is “冬至.” It literally means “winter arrives.” It is the day that we have the longest dark hours of a year in the northern hemisphere

In the different areas of Asia, we consume different food on this day. In northern parts of China, they have dumplings and wontons. In southern parts and Taiwan, they will have glutinous rice balls.

腊八节 Laba Festival

laba

This is a holiday that is very not well-known by many people. People in northwest China and south of the Yangtze are still celebrating this festival. They use many different kinds of beans, grains, and rice to make Laba congee, or “腊八粥 làbā zhōu” in Chinese.

Traditional Chinese Holidays Infographic - Simplified Character Version

Chinese holidays

Traditional Chinese Holidays Infographic - Traditional Character Version

Traditional Chinese Holidays Infographic - Traditional Character Version

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