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China in Photos - Chinese Traditional Festivals

The three Chinese traditional festivals---Ching Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival shall be China's legal holidays from 2008, together with the Spring Festival, there are four traditional festivals out of the seven national statutory holidays.

Chinese traditional calendar (also called lunar calendar) is based on the combination of cycles of the lunar and solar movements. Most of Chinese traditional festivals are related to farm work and climate and other natural phenomena of a season, which are put in order according to the lunar calendar. For example, Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month, Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Double Ninth Festival falls on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, Laba Festival falls on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, New Year's Eve falls on the 30th day of the 12th lunar month, etc.

Some traditional festivals are to commemorate the famous predecessors or characters of myths and legends. For example, Dragon Boat Festival commemorates Qu Yuan---the great ancient patriotic poet, Double Seventh Festival commemorates the romantic myth---Cowhand and Weaver Maid go to meet each other through a bridge built by tens of thousands of magpies…

The traditional festivals includes Water-Sprinkling Festival of Dai, Festival of Fast-Breaking of Hui, Uygur and other nationalities who have faith in Islam, Onkor Festival of Tibetan and many other festivals for ethnic groups.

The traditional festivals always go along with the fixed activities or traditional customs. For example, visit temple fairs in the Spring Festival, enjoy the sight of colorful lanterns and eat sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour in the Lantern Festival, conduct tomb-sweeping and ancestor worship in the Ching Ming Festival, eat rice dumplings wrapped in reed leaves and hold dragon boat races in the Dragon Boat Festival, eat moon cakes and view the moon in the Mid-Autumn Festival, climb mountains and appreciate chrysanthemum flowers in the Double Ninth Festival, eat rice porridge with nuts and dried fruit on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, have family reunion dinner and stay up late together on New Year's Eve, and so on.

Chinese traditional festivals imply centuries-old strong traditions and profound history and culture, from which Chinese people enjoy the brilliant Chinese civilization generation after generation.

Explanation of photos:

01. In the 1st lunar month of 2007, various temple fairs in Beijing attract many citizens. The 1st day of the 1st lunar month is the Spring Festival, which is the most ceremonious traditional festival in China. People are playing lion dance, performing dragon-lantern show and folk art performance (given on traditional or religious festivals), visiting the flower markets and strolling around temple fairs. Festive lanterns are hung all over the city and visitors are full of the streets, what a lively occasion!

02. On New Year's Eve of Chinese lunar calendar, the whole family eating dumplings and staying up late together is still the way of spending the New Year for most families in North China. This photo shows the undergraduates come to a welfare institution voluntarily, to make dumplings with old people there on New Year's Eve.

03. Chinese people always welcome the God of Wealth in the 5th day of the 1st lunar month from old times. Open the door and windows, burn joss sticks, shot off firecrackers and fireworks at 0:00 a.m. to welcome the God of Wealth. This photo shows an old woman from Macao standing beside the "God of Wealth" to take pictures in the Spring Festival.

04. The 15th day of the 8th lunar month is the Mid-Autumn Festival---one of the Chinese traditional festivals. This photo shows lots of Wuhan citizens are appreciating the beautiful moon in front of the Yellow Crane Tower in the Mid-Autumn Festival.

05. The 15th day of the 1st lunar month is the Lantern Festival---one of the Chinese traditional festivals. Eating "Yuanxiao"---small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour is one of the most important customs in that day. Insert the fillings in to the dough of rice flour and roll it into ball. The fillings are made of sugar, sesames, sweetened bean paste, nutlets and other ingredients. The dumpling ball floats in the bowl, just like a moon in the sky, which imply reunion and happy. This photo shows citizens are making "Yuanxiao" to celebrate the Lantern Festival.

06. Chinese people like pasting all kinds of paper-cuts on their windows. Paper-cut for window decoration not only shows the happy environment but also is a collection of decoration, appreciative value and practicability. Paper-cut is a popular folk art in China, which is loved by Chinese people for thousands of years.

07. Hanging up New Year's pictures during the Spring Festival is very popular both in China's urban and rural areas. The colorful pictures bring about happy and flourish for every family. New Year's picture is an old folk art in China, which reflect people's simple customs, beliefs and hopes of the future.

08. The 8th day of the 12th lunar month is called "Laba". People sacrifice ancestral spirits and gods to pray for harvest and lucky in the Laba Festival from Pre-qin Dynasty. The custom of eating Laba porridge in the Laba Festival has a history of over 1,000 years. Laba porridge consists of polished glutinous rice, glutinous millet, soybeans, almonds and other ingredients. This photo shows in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, a big copper boiler is put in the street to make Laba porridge for citizens' free tasting.

09. "Running land boat dance" is a dance mode of Han nationality, which is very popular in north China. It is the absolutely necessary performance for Chinese festivals. Land boat has a unique style: it puts "running" of "land boat" into historical legend to perform a complete story, which perfectly integrate "running" with boats, characters and appearances.

10. The 9th day of the 9th lunar month is the Double Ninth Festival. People climb mountains, appreciate chrysanthemum flowers, drink chrysanthemum wine and eat double-ninth cakes. Respecting and taking care of old people are the important customs and contents on that day. The 9th day of the 9th lunar month is the "Old Men Festival" in China. This photo shows Fuzhou Kaiyuan Temple holds a banquet for over 1,000 people who are over 60 years old on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month in 2007.

11. In Nov. 2004, people of Shui ethnic group are playing water dragons in Sandu Shui Minority Autonomous County of Guizhou province, to celebrate Duan Festival---the traditional festival of Shui ethnic group. Because autumn is the beginning of a year in Shui Calendar, their traditional New Year's Day is Duan Festival. For "the last day of a year" is the 20th day of the 9th lunar month, Shui ethnic group is the nationality with the earliest New Year's Day among the 56 nationalities in China.

12. During the Ching Ming Festival, a girl and a boy present chrysanthemum flowers on the tomb to sacrifice their relative in Guiyang, China. The Ching Ming Festival is the most important sacrifice festival in China. Most people from Han and some ethnic groups pay respects to dead person at the tombs on that day. The Ching Ming Festival is also called Spring Outing Day, which falls on April 4, 5 or 6. It is a green and beautiful spring day for outing, so, there are the customs of going out for a walk in the countryside and holding various sports games in the Ching Ming Festival from old times.

13. The Festival of Fast-Breaking is one of the three important Islamic festivals (Corban Festival, Festival of Fast-Breaking and Prophet's Birthday). The 9th month of Islamic calendar is fasting month according to the Islamic Law. It is celebrated by Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Ozbek, Tajik, Tatar, Kirghiz, Salar, Dongxiang, Bonan and other ethnic groups, which is the New Year's Day of Hui ethnic group. This photo shows Xinjiang Muslim people are dancing to celebrate the Festival of Fast-Breaking.

14. The "Third-month Fair" of Dali, Yunnan province is very lively. Girls from Bai ethnic group are performing rattle stick dance---one of the Bai traditional activities in the street of Dali. The Third-month Fair is the grant Bai traditional festival, and also is the fair for folk material exchange and entertainment activities, which is very popular in Yunnan Dali and some other areas. From the 15th of the 3rd lunar month, the Third-month Fair is held at the foot of Diancang Mountain (located on the west of Dali) for 5 or 7 days.

15. The Torch Festival is the traditional festival of Yi, Bai, Naxi, Jino, Lahu and other ethnic groups with a period of 2 to 3 days. During the festival, bull fighting, wrestling and other activities are held on the day. As night falls, they march in groups all over their villages holding torches on hands. Finally, the crowds get together in the square and pile up all torches. They are singing and dancing with plenty of happiness. This photo shows the patrol in the Torch Festival.

16. The Water-Splashing Festival falls in the 6th month of Dai Calendar (mid. April of the Gregorian calendar), which is the most important festival for Dai, De'ang, Achang and other ethnic groups who have the faith in Hinayana Buddhism. At present, the Water-Splashing Festival becomes the traditional festival to ring out the Old Year and ring in the New Year and bless each other with water for Dai people in Dehong, Xishuangbannan and other areas. The main activities are bathing of Buddha, water-splashing, dragon boat race, etc. This photo shows Dai people and visitors are celebrating the Water-Splashing Festival together.

17. In June, 2007, Worldwide Dragon Boat Championship was held in Hongkong, China. Over 200 teams, 400 paddlers and over 10,000 spectators turned Hongkong Stanley into a boiling beach. Dragon boat races in the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the activities that with strong Chinese traditional characteristics in Hongkong. The 5th day of the 5th lunar month is the Dragon Boat Festival in China. Chinese people hold dragon boat races and eat rice dumplings wrapped in reed leaves on that day to commemorate Qu Yuan---the great ancient patriotic poet.

18. The festivals of Chinese Korean are almost the same as Han nationality. Besides, there are three family days, i.e. the one year birthday of baby, "Hui Jia festival" (to celebrate the full 60 years of life), and "Hui Wedding Ceremony" (to celebrate the 60th anniversary of marriage). Chinese Korean people are singing and dancing for their festivals. This photo shows Korean girls from Jilin, China, are performing water dance in a festival.

19. In April 2005, Miao girls from Guizhou celebrated the Miao Sisters Festival---the traditional Miao festival wearing beautiful costumes. The Miao "Sisters Festival" is also called "Sisters Meal Festival", which is the traditional festival for Miao people living in Taijiang County, Shibing County and other counties located alongside Qingshui River in Guizhou. It is known as the "Oldest Oriental Valentine's Day", sisters, young boys and girls get together to select their ideal lovers on that day.

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