Traditional Chinese festivals are an essential part of Chinese culture, it’s a way for people to gather together to celebrate their harvests, or show respect for older generations (a big part of Chinese culture).
Here are 8 most popular Chinese festivals that every Chinese celebrates (dates all in lunar calendar):
1. Chinese New Year (1st ~ 15th of January)
The biggest festival in the entire country, it is incredibly fun! There’s eating, drinking, fireworks, and friendliness in the air. It happens the 1st through the 15th of the first lunar month. Dumplings are a traditional food of the holiday.
2. Lantern Festival (15th of January)
Just after Chinese New Year, on the 15th day of the first lunar month, you’ll have fun at the Lantern Festival. There are folk dances and more fireworks. Yuanxiao is what they eat, a sweet rice dumpling.
3. Qingming Festival (Early April)
Usually in the beginning of April, this is the tomb sweeping holiday. While it sounds morbid, families sweep the tombs of their dead relatives and then head outdoors to enjoy picnics and kite-flying.
4. Dragon Boat Festival (5th of May)
For over 2,000 years, this festival has taken place on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. The southern portion of China has the best festivals. People come to watch the dragon boats race and everyone eats zongzi, glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
5. Mid-Autumn Festival (15th of August)
It’s the second biggest festival and happens on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The celebration is for the moon and everyone gathers to celebrate with a big meal. Moon cakes are a traditional item that is always served. They are filled with sesame seeds, red bean paste, and other ingredients which take getting used to. They’re delicious, but don’t bite into it expecting chocolate!
6. Chongyang Festival (9th of September)
Do you like cake? Then you’ll love this festival. It’s on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. You eat Chongyang cake and drink chrysanthemum wine. Many people spend the day out climbing nearby mountains or hiking.
7. Winter Solstice (21st ~ 23rd of December)
On the winter solstice, Chinese families feel they must eat dumplings. This is said to bring good luck. The people in the south often favor sticky puddings instead though.
8. Laba Festival (8th of December)
On the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, this was once a holiday of sacrificing to the dead and praying for prosperity. Today though, people eat congee to celebrate. It’s a type of porridge and is made differently in each part of the country.