Public Holidays in China

National Day CrowdsThe major public holidays in China are the three-day holidays of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and National Day. National Day is generally attached to a weekend to create a five-day holiday period while Spring Festival unofficially drags on until the Lantern Festival some 15 days after New Year. These are the main times of the year when the Chinese go traveling and crowds at sights during these periods can be unbearable while prices for accommodation and flights might be higher than usual and train tickets can be near impossible to procure. Until 2008, May Day was also a three day holiday and was also a major time of travel.

The other public holidays are unlikely to interfere with your travel plans, though they are worth noting as Chinese consulates abroad are likely to be closed on these days.

Official Public Holidays in China

January 1 New Year’s Day
February 2-8 (2011) Chinese New Year (Falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month so dates change each year)
April 5 Qing Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)
May 1 Labor Day
June 6 (2011) Dragon Boat Festival (Falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month so the date changes each year)
September 12 (2011) Mid-Autumn Festival (Falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month so the date changes each year)
October 1-3 National Day

Additionally, there are four holidays for segments of the population which seem to pass largely unnoticed.

March 8 International Women’s Day (half-day holiday for women)
May 4 Youth Day (half-day holiday for youth aged 14 and over)
June 1 International Children’s Day (for children aged under 14)
August 1 Day of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (half-day holiday for active military personnell)