Characterized by diverse styles and themes, traditional Chinese festivals are an important part of the country's history and culture, both ancient and modern. A close relationship exists between many of the traditional festivals and chronology, mathematics, the Chinese Calendar and the twenty-four solar terms. Many of the customs connected with the traditional festivals have links with religious devotions, superstitions and myths. The form which most of the festivals take today was established around the time of the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220) and for many years, various eminent poets have written countless masterpieces describing the festivals and are still recited regularly today.
Almost every festival has its own unique origins and customs which reflect the traditional practices and morality of the whole Chinese nation and its people. The grandest and most popular festivals are the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), the Lantern Festival, the Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-autumn Festival, etc.
Chinese Traditional Festivals List
|Chinese New Year||1st - 15th of the first lunar month||pasting scrolls, the character 'Fu', and paper-cuts pictures, setting-off firecrackers and fireworks, paying New Year visits, and eating jiaozi.|
|Lantern Festival||15th day of the first lunar month||watching lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, performing folk dances, and eating yuanxiao.|
|Qingming Festival||April 4th or 5th of the solar calendar||tomb sweeping, spring outings, and flying kites.|
|Dragon Boat Festival||5th day of the 5th lunar month||dragon boat racing, eating zongzi, wearing a perfume pouch and tying five-colour silk thread, and hanging mugwort leaves and calamus.|
|Double Seventh Festival||7th day of seventh lunar month||praying for skillful hands, appreciating the stars, and eating noodles, jiaozi, and wontons.|
|Mid-autumn Festival||15th day of the 8th lunar month||appreciating and offering sacrifice to the moonlight and eating moon cakes.|
|Chongyang Festival||9th day of the 9th lunar month||eating Chongyang cake, drinking chrysanthemum wine, climbing mountains and appreciating beautiful chrysanthemums.|
|Winter Solstice||Dec. 21st, 22nd or 23rd in solar calendar||having dumplings in northern areas and having sticky puddings in southern areas|
|Laba Festival||8th day of the 12th lunar month||eating laba rice porridge.|
Timetable of Chinese Traditional Festivals (2012-2021)
|FestivalYear||Chinese New Year||Lantern Festival||Qingming||Dragon Boat||Double Seventh||Mid-autumn||Chongyang||Laba|
|2012||Jan. 23||Feb. 6||Apr. 4||Jun. 23||Aug. 23||Sep. 30||Oct. 23||Jan. 1|
|2013||Feb. 10||Feb. 24||Apr. 4||Jun. 12||Aug. 13||Sep. 19||Oct. 13||Jan. 19|
|2014||Jan. 31||Feb. 14||Apr. 5||Jun. 2||Aug. 2||Sep. 8||Oct. 2||Jan. 8|
|2015||Feb. 19||Mar. 5||Apr. 5||Jun. 20||Aug. 20||Sep. 27||Oct. 21||Jan. 27|
|2016||Feb. 8||Feb. 22||Apr. 4||Jun. 9||Aug. 9||Sep. 15||Oct. 9||Jan. 17|
|2017||Jan. 28||Feb. 11||Apr. 4||May 30||Aug. 28||Oct. 4||Oct. 28||Jan. 5|
|2018||Feb. 16||Mar. 2||Apr. 5||Jun. 18||Aug. 17||Sep. 24||Oct. 17||Jan. 24|
|2019||Feb. 5||Feb. 19||Apr. 5||Jun. 7||Aug. 7||Sep. 13||Oct. 7||Jan. 13|
|2020||Jan. 25||Feb. 8||Apr. 4||Jun. 25||Aug. 25||Oct. 1||Oct. 25||Jan. 2|
|2021||Feb. 12||Feb. 26||Apr. 4||Jun. 14||Aug. 14||Sep. 21||Oct. 14||Jan. 20|
Traditional Chinese Festivals for Kids
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 the Spring Festival when Chinese New Year is celebrated. But there are also many others just as lively and colorful that all Chinese kids love and enjoy:
Chinese New YearChinese 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 as millions travel home to be with their families.
It 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.
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 and Ghost Festival Month
The Ghost Festival is the opposite of Qinming Festival. Here, the ghosts come out when the gates of heaven are opened for a month and visit the living... Ghost month falls in the seventh lunar month.
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...
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, is a bit more challenging as facilities and transportation will be flooded by local tourists.
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.
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. Visit our sister site Hong Kong Traveller to learn more about the Bun Festival.
And let's not forget about the hundreds of ways Chinese Festivals are celebrated all over the world.
Take a look at this Chinese New Year Celebration in Malaysia in the little town of Kuala Kurau, where old traditions and ancient rituals are very much alive and being carried out by the older generations as well as the younger ones, making sure the folklore and heart of the celebrations are being passed on.
And likewise in many places around the world everywhere there is a Chinese community, you can observe the many colorful celebrations, from Dragon Parades to Lion Dances and of course, the feasts and banquets!
Here's more ways people are celebrating colorful Chinese Festivals all over the world, share how you celebrate too!
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