Beijing Holiday and Vacations
China is a country which is famous for its unique cultures and traditions. No matter where the Chinese live, they will still remain their own culture manner and pass on the ritual folk towards their descendants. The national cultural festivals as well as the national holidaywill therefore signify the unity of the people around this nation. Throughout the civilization process in China over thousands of years, the people have got used to their unique ways of living with their very own religions and beliefs. If you are interested in the Chinese traditional culture behavior, why don’t you take the opportunity to have Beijing vacations especially during some famous Chinese festivals? Beijing, as an ancient city is more than enough to offer you unforgettable experience of traditional culture of the land which full of mystery. Besides sharing the happiness with the locals during the festivals, you can also satisfy your tongue with dozens of traditional snacks and gourmet. You will never regret for the arrangement of a Beijing holiday during Chinese famous festivals.
Family Concept has long been a very important element which deeply influenced the life and culture manner of Chinese people. As a result, the children were taught to respect the elderly since they were young and when they grew up, it will be their responsibility to take care of their parents in return. This concept, which promotes the idea of family and respecting the elderly, has become one of the most popular behaviors among the rest of ethnics in the world. Qingming Festival and Mid Autumn Festival are both festivals which originated from ancestors worshipping while family gathering has turned to be the theme of these two festivals. Besides occasions for ancestors worshipping, eating moon cakes as well as enjoying the beautiful lantern showcases have become the common activities during Mid Autumn Festival.
For the Chinese, spring is considered as the beginning of everything. Thus, when celebrating the Spring Festival, people will insert many good wishes into the activities which take place during this festival. Anyway, Spring Festival is still remained the most important festival among the Chinese. Perhaps before Spring Festival, people who are away from home will return to their hometown and enjoying delicious dumpling together with their beloved families. Reunion Dinner which signifies the perfect gathering of a family is taken place on the day before Spring Festival. An overnight celebration is common during this festival where the dark sky was decorated with colorful fireworks. During the first day of Spring Festival, the people will normally visiting each other and wishes for good fortune and prosperity for New Year. If you are planning for Beijing vacations during Spring Festival, please make sure that you do not miss out the Miaohui (Temple Fair) which is carried out at majority of the parks. Many attractive Chinese style items and gifts are sold here and interesting cultural performance can be found here. Your Beijing vacation is not complete unless you have taken part in the celebrations of Chinese festivals in Beijing. On the other hand, China is now celebrated the New Year’s Day on the January 1st annually similar to majority of the nations around the world. However, the celebration for this festival is not as lively as the other cultural festivals. Anyway, it is still worth for a visit if you would like to experience a different way of celebration.
Yuandan (New Year’s Day)
New Year’s Day generally means the 1st January of each year for almost countries all over the world. However, in ancient China, New Year’s Day is referred to the Spring Festival, the Chinese new year of Lunar Calendar. In mandarin, “Yuan” means the beginning or the first while “Dan” means the early in the morning or sometimes means the whole day. Thus, Yuandan can be described as the beginning of a year or the first day of a new year. Yuandan or more commonly known as New Year’s Day worldwide is a public holiday in China Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. According to the Chinese culture, people will greet and wish for good luck between each other. There are various methods that people can use to express their wishes but greeting card is the most common way to be used. The celebration of New Year’s Day might be varying in each and every country. If you wish to experience something new and discover more about Beijing city, why don’t you spend a wonderful Beijing vacation while discovering more about the celebrations of New Year Eve as well as New Year’s Day in this eastern nation?
Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)
Spring Festival is commonly known as Chinese New Year. Spring Festival which normally falls in late January or early February depends on Lunar Calendar is considered as the beginning of a year especially in ancient China. Basically, the celebration of Spring Festival lasts for 15 days (until the 15th day of first Chinese lunar month). However, there are some places that celebrate for one full month. There are four main festivals in China consists of Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival) and Mid Autumn Festival (Moon Festival). Spring Festival ranks the most important place among these four famous festivals. Spring Festival can be considered as the most ceremonious with unique specialties traditional festivals among the Chinese. Celebrations begin on the first day of the first Chinese lunar month. Many activities and programs are taken place by Chinese as well as the minorities in China in order to celebrate this festival. Normally, ancestors worshipping and God worshipping will be done early in the morning, all houses will be decorated with items in red color, and peoples are well-dressed. Besides that, there are many other cultural characteristics activities which might be vary for people from different area to be carried out too. According to the custom behavior of Hans, the majority race of Chinese, dumpling, egg, meat ball, fish, apple, peanut etc are compulsory during the celebration of Spring Festival. Besides that, preparation of Spring Festival such as house decoration with paper cutting, spring calligraphy, as well as house cleaning need to be done before the first day of the Spring Festival. Fireworks used to play a very important role during the celebration of this festival. However, due to the safety reason, fireworks have been restricted by the authority. Nevertheless, Spring Festival is a festival for family gathering. The reunion dinner which takes place the day before Chinese New Year is a very significant practice for family reunion. People who are away from home will be required to back to their home town in order to take part in this dinner and celebrate this festival with their beloved one. There are many rules and restrictions for this dinner. The first and the foremost requirement is that all family members must attend the dinner. Even if there is someone unable to attend the dinner, a seat and a full set of tableware need to be reserved too in order to show the reunion of the family. Besides that, the dishes are named with wonderful name and wishes for good luck as well as prosperity for the coming year. Dumpling is the most favorite dish during Spring Festival especially for the people who live at northern part of China. Beijing locals are among them who enjoy dumpling very much. According to the traditional culture, dumpling means reunion of family and signified the prosperity and good fortune. In order to create a more enjoyment and excitement atmosphere during the celebration, people used to insert some gifts inside the dumpling. It is totally depends on you luck to get a dumpling with some surprising gifts prepared by the cooks. If you got a dumpling with a coin, this will mean that a good fortune is waiting for you in the coming year whereas, if you got a dumpling with honey flavored, this means that you will have a sweet year with your beloved one for the next year. Having a Beijing excursion is a good idea if you are planning for an unusual holiday. Although there might be celebrations for Chinese New Year conducted somewhere around your country, in fact the feel of celebrations will be totally different if you are here in Beijing. Each house will be decorated with red lanterns, and red-paper calligraphy on the door frames, paper cutting on the glass as well as people wearing in red is everywhere. The passion of Beijing locals and the atmosphere of Spring Festival will definitely guarantee you a wonderful Beijing vacation.
Qingming Festival is a very traditional Chinese festival and also a very important festival for worshipping ancestors. This festival is known by various names in English language, such as Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day, festival for Tending Graves, Grave Sweeping Day, Chinese Memorial Day, Tomb Sweeping Day and Spring Remembrance. Most of the Chinese as well as some minorities in China will visit and clean the grave of their ancestors on the day of Qingming Festival. According to the ancient traditions, liquor, foods, fruits and paper money is a must when visiting the grave of ancestors during this special day. Food and fruits will be placed in front of the grave of their ancestors while the paper money will be burnt in front too. Some new soils will be put on top of the grave and follows by placing a few new leaves on top. Kowtow salute will be done by the younger generations and follow by eating the displayed food, fruits and liquor before the occasion come to the end. Du mu, one of the famous poets during Tang Dynasty had written a popular poem entitled “Qingming” which described this Chinese traditional festival. The English translation sounds as follow: Rain falls like tears during Qingming period Heart is breaking for each passer by Where a liquor house can be found? A cowherd points to the Xinghua Cun (Almond Flower Village) quite a distance away Ancestors worshipping is still a tradition behavior which still apply until today. It normally occurs around April and June when the spring is just around the corner. During this period, people tend to go outside and enjoying the greenery scene of spring, thus, Qingming Festival is also known as Taqing Festival (Treading in the greenery). A series of outdoor games will be carried out which enable the public to enjoy the beauty of nature while relaxing and enjoying the games with family members. Although Qingming Festival is not a good festival to take part in, an outing or a mountain hike is the most suitable activities during this season. A Beijing vacation during this period is ideally for nature lover. The breathtaking scenery of early spring will ensure you a pleasant stay in Beijing.
International Workers’ Day (Labor Day or May Day)
The International Workers’ Day or more commonly known as May Day is the official Labor Day for almost all countries all over the world. It is celebrated at 1st May annually. Labor Day is originated from 1886 Haymarket Affair, a three-day general strike which occurred in Chicago, United States. The Haymarket Affair involved common workers, artisans, merchants as well as immigrants that fight for the eight hour working day. A rally was called at Haymarket Square on the next day after the incident of 4 strikers was killed at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co., by the police. The event remained peaceful at the beginning but towards the end of the rally, a bomb was threw into the crowd of police by an unknown assailant which resulted police riot let at least the death of a dozen of people. As a commemoration of the people who involved in the 1886 Haymarket Affair, May 1st was declared as the International Workers’ Day by the Second International. Workers from all over the world have welcoming this declaration with opened arms. Later in May 1st 1890, workers from western countries began to fight for their rights on this special day. Since then, workers from each country will gather together to celebrate this memorable day annually. After the formation of People’s Republic of China, the government had declared May 1st to be one of official public holiday in December of 1949. Celebrations will be taken place on this day annually. People will gather in the parks, theaters as well as plazas to take part in various celebrations and entertainment activities. Besides that, prize given ceremonies will be conducted to show appreciation to workers who have excellent performance or contribution to the company.
Duanwu Festival is dated on the 5th of the 5th month of lunar calendar. It is more commonly known as the Dragon Boat Festival. This is because the Dragon Boat Competition is one of the famous activities which are taken place during this festival. It is named as Duanwu Festival or Duanyang Festival in mandarin language but in order to make it easier to remember by non-Chinese personnel, it is therefore being translated as Dragon Boat Festival. However, there is possibility that the name came from the foreigners who observed the dragon boat race but not understanding the significance of the race in the 19th centuries and thus referred this special day as a Dragon Boat Festival. As a result, the term of Dragon Boat Festival is well-known in the west countries. Dragon Boat Festival is one of the major traditional festivals for the Chinese. The most significant activities that take place during this festival is eating rice ball called ‘Zong’, dragon boat competition as well as drinking a special made wine. According to the history, eating Zong and dragon boat competition is as a commemoration of Qu Yuan, a famous scholar and also a politician in ancient China. After the formation of People’s Republic of China, the government had once named Duanwu Festival as the Poets’ Day in honor to Qu Yuan. Even until today, Duanwu Festival is still considered as a very important festival throughout China. Since 2008, the government of China has declared Duanwu Festival as the official public holiday and 1 day off will be applied. Moreover, as a result of protection for non-materialistic cultural heritage, this culture manner has been listed into National Non-Materialistic Cultural Heritage on May 2006. A dragon boat is designed in a very long and narrow shape, similar to canoe style human-powered boat. The dragon boat race has been taken place for more than 2000 years annually since the ancient China. Later, this competition which is among the oldest mankind organized competition has emerged into an international sport in Hong Kong upon 1976. The reason why this type of boat is named as dragon boat is due to the well-decorated Chinese dragon head and tail on each boat. The Dragon Boat Racing is organized in many countries of East Asia especially for areas with significant Chinese population such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. If you wish you add some colors to your Beijing vacation, why don’t you grab the opportunity to involve in this traditional festival while enjoying the delicious Zongzi?
The National Day is celebrated for the mark of nationhood of a nation. The Independence Day of a nation is among the date which is the most significant date to symbolize the birth of this nationhood. The October 1st of each year is the National Day of People’s Republic of China. In 1st October 1949, President Mao declared the independence of People’s Republic of China at the Tiananmen Square at the same time raised the first five-star red flag by himself. This was the first independent ceremony held at Tiananmen Square. Over 300 thousands of soldiers had taken part in the parade of this memorable event. During the time, Tiananmen Square had been crowded with people who shared the happiness of independence among all of them. Later, the Central People’s Government had passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China on December 2nd, 1949. Thus, 1st October was then being declared as the National Day of People’s Republic of China. Since the independence of People’s Republic of China on October 1st 1949, the celebrations for National Day has been encountered several changes of types. Within 1971 and 1983, no parade was taken place. Only large scale entertainment activities which were held in the parks or opened-air ground were carried out to celebrate the independence of the nation. On 1984, during the 35th anniversary of independence, a large scale of military parade as well as the parade of the public was taken place. Whole of the nation were enjoying the happiness of independence. After that, such large scale military and public parade had been replaced by other types of celebration methods. Again, during the 50th anniversary of independence on 1999, an even larger scale of parade was organized around the Tiananmen Square. This celebration can be considered as the last celebration of National Day for the 20th century in China. A conclusion had been made that parade will take place only when special events or anniversary of the independence. The October 1st 2009 will be the 60th anniversary of independence for People’s Republic of China. This is one of the major events to be taken place in 2009. It is believe that the government will come out with a huge celebration schedule with National Day Parade. Such huge event with wonderful performance must be highlighted with plenty of unique cultural performance. Please do not miss out this golden opportunity and make yourself to be one of them in the parade. Why don’t you plan now and comfort yourself with an unforgettable Beijing vacation?
Mid Autumn Festival (Moon Festival or Lantern Festival)
Mid Autumn Festival is a very traditional festival in China. Worshipping the moon during mid autumn has been an ancient folk ritual ever since three thousand years ago during Shang Dynasty. Sometimes, Mid Autumn Festival is known as Moon Festival or Lantern Festival since the moon and lanterns are both the most significant elements of this festival. Mid Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Most of the activities that take place during this festival are related with the moon. The most significant activities are enjoying the beauty of the moon and lantern showcase. Besides that, everyone must eat moon cake which means perfect gathering. According to the ancestors, moon cakes used to be the food which served as offerings for The God of Moon. Later, people have turned this ancient folk ritual to be signified the perfect gathering of a family. The moon cake, however, has become the special gifts especially when this festival is around the corner. Since 2008, Mid Autumn Festival has been declared as one of the official public holiday by the government. Moreover, as a result of protection for non-materialistic cultural heritage, this culture manner has been listed into National Non-Materialistic Cultural Heritage on May 2006. Although it is nothing different to have a full glance of moon either in Beijing or at your hometown, eating moon cakes while enjoying the beauty of full moon and colorful lanterns will definitely guarantee you an unforgettable and wonderful night throughout your Beijing vacation.