China is a country of vast tradition and enormous population, so it is not surprising that they have many holidays and periods of celebration. Due to the structure of Chinese society, some holidays are a fairly recent things, coming about when the communist revolution took place decades ago. While it may come as a surprise for westerners to have blocks of holidays so close together and long periods of basic shutdown for an entire country, China seems to be doing quite well for itself. Maybe we should follow suit?
You can check out vacation deals as ‘Golden Week’ is not a celebration to be missed. In mainland China, ‘Golden Week’ refers a few different times in the year but as of late, only two specifically and in this case just the one: the one that falls in October, National Day Golden Week,
Beginning October 1st , National Day is used to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which happened on that same day in 1949. Depending on what day of the week October 1st falls could mean Golden Week starts just before or just after, resulting in parties and celebrations throughout the country.
The festivals held are predominately government run, although there are many private parties to attend if you find yourself in the country during this time. Some of the festivities include concerts, decorated sites like Tiananmen Square (which is where the PRC was founded originally) and pictures of revered leaders, like Mao Zedong, adorn many public buildings on a large scale. Largest of all festivities, however, are the fireworks.
Firework displays are common to all cities – in fact it is hard to go a night without having the sky lit up by some amazing show of light and colour – but the most famous of all is in Hong Kong. Held annually since 1997 at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong puts on a fireworks display like nowhere else. Similar to the spectacle put on during Chinese New Year, the firework display here is one that puts others around the world to shame and is definitely worth checking out if you have the opportunity.
The most enjoyable thing about Golden Weeks is the time off it affords – unfortunately, if you are travelling to China and looking to do touristy things, this could prove challenging, as the world’s most populous country is doing the same. This doesn’t mean you should avoid China during this time, but just be aware that prices could be higher, lines could be longer, crowds could be denser and the whole place is just a little more crazy. It would definitely be a sight to behold, but perhaps think about staying a few days after, once everyone goes back to work, so you can be a part of the festivities of Golden Week but also to see what it’s like the rest of the year.
Whether you go for the fireworks, the concerts, the history or just because you hear it’s a great party, National Golden Week in China would make for a memorable holiday regardless of what you end up doing.