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China’s May Holidays
China celebrates International Labor Day. Unlike many of China's holidays, this one is not tied to the Chinese lunar calendar. It falls every year on May 1. In close succession is the celebration “Youth Day”, on May 4th. This holiday celebrates youngsters who are over fourteen years of age, and encourages them to study hard so they can contribute to the nation.
International Labor Day (aka May Day)
As a day for the working people worldwide, it was established on May 1st in 1886. In China, all kinds of jubilant assemblies and amusement activities are held in parks, theaters, and on plazas. In the evening, entertainment programs are held on TV, and a few individual model laborers are often featured at festivities.
Youth Day is an event that held for the youngsters over fourteen years old on May 4th. All the young people are summoned to study from the 'Youth Medal' (Medals rewarded for the model youth) winners and learn their stories. Schools usually organize social events for students for students communicating with each other on that day.
About International Labor Day - May 1st
International Labor Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labor movement. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by Socialists and Communists to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in Chicago. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labor unions throughout most of the world.
Youth Day in China – May 4th Significant date in the history of the country
Every year on 4 May China celebrates Youth Day, which has been a public holiday since 1949, the year the Communist party was formed. Youth Day is a national holiday of political nature. It is associated with an important historic event in the development of Chinese democracy. It was May 4, 1919 when young people began mass demonstrations which became a kind of trigger to start the national liberation movement in China.
The students’ mass demonstrations were caused by the decisions on the territories formerly belonging to the German Empire, adopted at the Versailles Peace Conference. The Chinese Shandong peninsula was transferred to Japan, and that was the reason for the revolts to begin. Nearly 3,000 students went out to the streets to defend the integrity and sovereignty of China. Those famous demonstrations resulted in significant concessions on the part of Beijing authorities and the dismissal of several ministers from their posts.
Today, 4 May is one of the most significant dates, widely celebrated by the Chinese people. This day public celebrations, various performances are taking place, articles and reports dedicated to the festival are printed in newspapers. Annual youth rallies usually held this day obtained widespread circulation in the country. Year after year, thousands of Chinese university students are taking part in the grandiose parades and rallies, dedicated to the commemorative events of 1919.
A unique feature of Chinese holidays is that weekends, which are usually days off for office workers, are worked if there is a public holiday that week. For example if Monday to Wednesday was a public holiday then the weekend before would be worked, so the statutory holiday is effectively only one day. Young people over 14 years of age have a half day off on Youth Day. Children under 14 years old have a day off on Children's Day.
Travel during National Holidays
Between the 1920s until around the 1970s, the Chinese began observing two sets of holidays, which were the traditional and what became "official", celebrating the accomplishments of the communist regime.
Many workers may extend the weekend to make it a longer holiday which can translate into millions of Chinese traveling domestically and internationally. Travel fares double or triple and advance bookings must be made weeks, or even months ahead for international travel. Throngs of tourists flock to the major tourist destinations, so you can forget having a quiet moment to ponder how the Great Wall was built. A third Golden Week holiday, which spanned 1 May and celebrated Labor Day existed until 2007. In 2008, there was then a major reform in 2008, that abolished the Labor Day Golden Week, and added three traditional Chinese holidays (Qingming Festival, Duanwu Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival).
Sources: Timeanddate.com, Wikipedia, About Travel, CCTV.com