5th January 2015
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival lasts for over a month, when the average temperature is -16.8 degrees Celsius, and is famous for exquisite and artistic ice and snow sculptures which are combined with coloured lights and music to create a fairytale world of glittering crystal buildings, often replicas of famous buildings, flowers, animals and so on of all shapes and sizes, with a different theme every year.
19th February 2015
Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival, the start of the new moon on the first day of the first lunar month, and it will be the Year of the Snake. The festival is the equivalent of our Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into one, with family reunions and lots of eating. Fish is often eaten as the word for fish in Chinese sounds the same as the word for surplus. A few days beforehand households have a major spring clean so that no sweeping needs to be done on New Year’s Eve itself in case good luck is also swept away. Red envelopes containing money are given to children and the unmarried. Two weeks later at the first full moon of the new year is the Lantern Festival where lanterns are lit outside every house and shop, often with riddles on them, and entertainment involves lion dances, stiltwalkers, fireworks, folk dancing and eating rice dumplings.
25th March - 11th April 2015
Peach Blossom Festival in Shanghai's Nanhui district is an annual event, with folk dancing, pig racing and other local activities.
11 Feb-10 Mar 2015
Taihu Lake Plum Blossom Festival takes place in Suzhou on these dates every year when a variety of folk events are staged to celebrate the coming of Spring.
5th April 2015
Qingming Festival is also known as Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day and denotes a time for people to tend to the graves of departed ones, clearing weeds, planting flowers, offering food and paper money to the dead so that they are provided for in their afterlife, and performing the kowtow to show respect. It is also a time for enjoying the beauties of nature in spring and flying kites with lanterns, and many people make a special outing into the countryside on this day.
14th April 2015
Third Month Fair, Dali, when the different minority tribes of Yunnan congregate for a great market.
13th May 2015
Rao Sanling, the Festival of the Three Temples – for the Bai people in Dali, this is the spring holiday before they plant their rice seedlings and start farming work, and when they make sacrifices for the success of the coming harvest. Wearing their best clothes they congregate at the foot of Cangshan Mountain, walk around the three holy temples, sing, dance and make merry.
20th June 2015
Dragon Boat Festival, on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, is a boat race with long canoes rowed by a team and egged on by a drummer, with dragon heads on the stern, the winning team ensuring a good harvest and prosperity for their village. Sticky rice pyramid-shaped dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and with a variety of fillings, zongzi, are traditionally eaten, children have coloured silks tied around their wrists and ankles to protect them from illness, and carry pouches filled with perfume.
4th August 2015
The Naxi minority of Lijiang hold a great Torch Festival where they construct giant decorated torches which they parade around the town and fields to illuminate crops, drive out evil and pests, and celebrate a good harvest in advance. Always accompanied by singing, music, archery, bull-wrestling, horse-racing and tug of war.
11th Jul - 13th Jul 2015
Mongolian Naadam Fair - a festival of traditional Mongolian sports – archery, horse-racing and wrestling – traditionally when members of all the nomadic tribes would gather to compete and show off their skills. The wrestling tournament starts off with over a thousand competitors, the champion is called The Titan, the horses are jockeyed by children in a cross-country race rather than on a racetrack, and men and women can compete in the archery competition where the results are sung out.
26th - 1st Sep 2014, 25th -31st August 2015
Tibetan Shoton (yoghurt banquet) Festival marks the end of the monks’ 100-day summer retreat and and consists of eating yoghurt and watching opera and yak races at Norbulingka, there is also folk dancing and singing at the Potala Palace. It is preceeded by a procession at Drepung Monastery of the great Thangka or holy image of the Maitreya Buddha.
2nd August 2014, 20th August 2015
Double Seventh Festival or the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, celebrated as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and on this night, girls will face the bright moon and pray to heaven for a lover that can satisfy her heart’s desire.
6th September 2014, 25th September 2015
Mid Autumn Festival (Moon Cake Festival) The moon is always at its fullest at this time of year, and traditionally the Emperor made sacrifices to the Moon at this time – nowadays people eat moon cakes instead which are filled with red bean paste, lotus paste, nuts or egg yolks, stay up late to admire the full moon and think of home.
2nd October 2014, 21st October 2015
Chongyang Festival, the Double-Ninth, held on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, and on this day people eat chongyang cakes (cakes filled with nuts) and drink chrysanthemum wine (the flower has curative powers). It’s also designated as Seniors’ Day when older people are taken on a country outing. The number nine in Chinese also sounds like the word for ‘forever’.
20th September 2014, 11th November 2015
Confucius Festival in Qufu commemorates the birth of the great Chinese scholar and philosopher Confucius, whose ideas are still part of everyday life here. At his birthplace in Shandong province there are various ceremonies worshipping at his temple, and performances of kung fu, ancient music and dance.