The term National Day marks one of the most important days on the Chinese calendar. Chinese celebrated happy events using this description as early as the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316 AD). Today, National Day marks the official celebration of the foundation of modern China. It kicks off a seven-day holiday across the country (October 1-7 every year). Many refer to this time as Golden Week.
History of Chinese National Day
While Chinese celebrate National Day on October 1, the country wasn’t founded on that date. The People’s Republic of China was officially founded on September 21, 1949. The new leaders held a grand ceremony in Tiananmen Square on October 1 to celebrate the new country. Later, October 1 was officially designated as the memorial day by the new government.
National Day Celebrations
Chinese use the week-long opportunity to travel and take part in many celebrations. There are parades, fireworks, and more. People hang lanterns, hold flag-raising ceremonies, and display giant murals of prominent leaders.
- Parades – Public ceremonies are a common way for Chinese to express patriotic feelings. The most high-profile parade is the Chinese military review at Tiananmen Square that happens every ten years. Thousands of soldiers participate along with government officials and military equipment.
- Fireworks – As with many other Chinese celebrations, fireworks are common. Massive displays can be enjoyed in many cities.
- Travel – Golden Week is second only to Chinese New Year in popularity to travel. Some have estimated that half a billion people will travel during the National Day holiday. It’s typical in cities for Chinese to visit family in rural areas. For many, it is the only time they’ll see their wife and children all year.
- Shopping – Of course shopping plays a role in any national holiday. Many retailers offer deep discounts in honor of National Day.
Where National Day is Observed
National Day is not only for mainland China. Hong Kong and Macau also recognize the holiday. Both are Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China.