Traditional Chinese Festivals are the life-blood of Chinese life and culture. It seems there is always some kind of celebration to look forward to! Chinese celebrations are all rich in tradition, history, great food, dazzling lights and flashy decorations!
Chinese festivals are based in the lunar calendar so the exact dates will vary from year to year in our Western Calendar.
By far, the largest and most important festival is Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival. But there are also many others just as lively and colorful that all Chinese kids love and enjoy, here are some of the most remarkable:
Chinese New Year - January 22, 2023
Spring Lantern Festival - February 5, 2023
Ching Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day - April 5, 2023
Dragon Boat Festival - June 22, 2023
Yue Lan or Hungry Ghost Festival - August 30, 2023
Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival - September 29, 2023
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is perhaps the most important holiday for the Chinese and is celebrated on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month.
It falls at the end of January or beginning of February in our Western calendar and is basically two weeks jam-packed with feasts, parades, lion dances and fireworks.
It is also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival and during this two-week period millions travel home to be with their families.
During the Lantern Festival streets, markets, store fronts, homes, parks, and just about everywhere you go, will be lit with beautiful lanterns, not only the traditional Chinese red lanterns but lanterns in all sorts of shapes, forms and colors.
The Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. It is the culmination of the Chinese New Year celebrations with the first full moon of the year.
Many cities across China will have dedicated lantern displays throughout the entire period of the festivities.
Ching Ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day
Tomb Sweeping Day or Qinming Festival is the time to honor the ancestors. At this time, temples and cemeteries throughout China will be teeming with activity as everyone flocks to pay respect, bring offerings and burn incense.
It normally falls at the beginning of April in our calendar.
Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival is an exciting festival when the dragon boat races, a long-standing tradition, are held throughout China. It is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, around June in our calendar.
It is a day full of excitement with teams of rowers paddling in unison to the beat of pounding drums to the finish line...
Yue Lan or Hungry Ghost Festival
The Ghost Festival is the opposite of Qinming Festival when the living worship the ancestors. During Yue Lan, the ghosts come out when the gates of heaven are opened for a month and visit the living...
This is actually an entire month of remembrance and celebration. Ghost month falls in the seventh lunar month.
Mid-Autumn Festival or the Moon Festival
The Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 8th full moon of the year. On this night, the moon is at its brightest.
Colorful lanterns adorn homes and streets, friends and family gather together to enjoy the moonlight and of course eat mooncakes!
Needless to say, travel during the major public holidays, specially the "Golden Weeks" of the Spring Festival and National Day in October, which may intersect with the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, is a bit more challenging as facilities and transportation will be flooded by local tourists.
More Chinese Festivals!
In addition to the many festivals which are celebrated throughout China, there are also many local Chinese festivities that are unique to specific areas and are full of the local folklore and myths with many celebrating the local deities.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival
During a trip to Hong Kong, we were lucky to be around the time of the Festival of the Bun Hills, which takes place in the island of Cheung Chau, just a ferry ride accross.
It is a very colorful event on the eight day of the fourth moon, or around May. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is one of the most popular celebrations in Hong Kong, a week-long feast full of parades, fireworks and the wacky bun grabbing competition and bun towers that characterize this colorful event.
Tin Hau Festival
More colorful celebrations are dedicated to Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, specially in the coastal areas where temples dedicated to this deity will go all out with parades, lion dances, and festive celebrations.
Here's more ways people are celebrating colorful Chinese Festivals all over the world!
filling each day with peak of health...
abundance of happiness...
and Zen like serenity...
You can decorate easily with traditional or battery-operated lanterns, paper cuttings, lucky coins and banners to add a splash to the celebrations!
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