The Chinese calendar is full of religious and cultural celebrations. There are the country-wide parties with fireworks, lanterns and dragon boat races and public holidays which last for a full, ‘golden’ week. And there are also many localized festivals which showcase and honor the traditions, history and culture of China’s many ethnic minorities.
The Miao people of Liuzhi in Guizhou province, celebrate their history and heritage during this day-long festival. The people dress in traditional costume and come together in the town for a local government ceremony and to watch the buffalo fights and performances of classical Lusheng folk dancing and Miao music.
February 7 2016
The day before Chinese New Year, people clean their houses to clear away bad luck and welcome good luck. Homes are decorated, new clothes are bought and families hold a reunion dinner comprised of fish and dumplings to symbolize wealth. Many people visit the temple at midnight to light incense and pray for a prosperous new year.
February 8-12 2016
This seven-day holiday is one of the most important in the Chinese calendar and is referred to as Golden Week. There are noisy celebrations with fireworks, family reunions where older relatives give youngsters red envelopes with cash, and lion dance performances. Most businesses reopen on the sixth day with spring dinners for employees.
February 9-14 2016
The Miao People of Yunnan celebrate this annual one-day festival in honor of their ancestors. They dress in traditional costume and plant a flower tree on a mountain. Classical music, dancing, and lion dancing are accompanied by a bullfight. There are games and competitions with prizes and a local market of food and crafts.
February 15 2016
This day-long celebration, also known as the Knife-Pole festival, is a physical competition honoring an ancient hero. People from all around flock to see local men jumping and dancing over burning coals; they drink wine and race to climb a ladder of knives, competing to win favor and to pay homage to the hero who protected their land.
February 22 2016
The lantern festival is a popular celebration which takes place over one night throughout China. Children take elaborate, vividly-colored - usually red - lanterns to the temple. The lanterns are embellished with riddles the children try to solve. The releasing of the lanterns symbolizes letting go of the past, and being ready for renewal.
February 25-27 2016
This is a popular four-day festival celebrated by the Miao ethnic minority of Guizhou. The Lusheng reed pipe dates back to the Tang dynasty and, as a symbol of Miao history, is played throughout the festival at ceremonies and performances of traditional dances. There are horse races on the third day and bullfighting on the fourth.
March 16 2016
The Naxi people celebrate this one-day festival every year to honor the jade dragon snow mountain hero who protects the Lijiang area. They visit the Sanduo statue in the temple and make ceremonial animal sacrifices. The families of the community cook and share food, while playing games set to music and dancing.
The Miao people are an ethnic minority of Guizhou province and those in Nankai come together to celebrate their culture in this one-day festival. They wear authentic traditional dress and put on plays and performances of Lusheng reed pipe music with folk dancing. Visitors flock to enjoy the food market and carnival atmosphere.
April 4 2016
This one-day festival, also known as tomb sweeping day, is followed by two further days of holiday and is devoted to paying respects to ancestors. Throughout China, people clean the tombs of their relatives and make symbolic offerings. Families also take spring outings to enjoy nature and fly kites, which they release for good luck.
April 21-23 2016
At this one-day festival, the various peoples of Guangxi province get together to celebrate love. Lovers give each other letters and gifts, and express their feeling through dancing and singing. The Li people hold open air parties in colorful dress with traditional food, competitions and music with a big bonfire in the evening.
May 14 2016
This one-day festival is celebrated by the various ethnic minorities in Guizhou province. The tribes celebrate and share their history and culture by wearing traditional dress, playing folk instruments and performing classical dances. Many young people make new friends and look for future spouses among the other groups.
May 16 2015
This three-day festival is a chance for the Miao people to experience love and courtship. Young women dress in elaborate clothes and jewelry, and young men woo them with parcels of rice. If they receive two chopsticks in return, they may court the lady. There is Lusheng dancing and music, as well as bullfights within the festivities.
June 22 2014 | July 9 2015
This popular, colorful one-day festival is followed by two public holidays, and is celebrated throughout China. Sticky dumplings and wine are traditionally shared among friends and people flock to the river banks to watch exciting dragon boat races. There are also market fairs with games, music and dancing.
July 27-30 2016
This three-day festival is of particular importance to the Yi people of Yunnan province who honor Atilaba, the hero who used fire to drive locusts from the area. There are bull and goat fights, horse races and torch parades culminating in huge bonfires where the people sing and dance and pray for a good harvest.
September 27 2015 | September 15 2016
This three-day festival includes a one-day public holiday and is celebrated throughout China. Traditionally observed to give thanks to the moon for the harvest, nowadays it is often referred to as Moon Cake festival and families celebrate together, eating cakes, sending up lanterns to the full moon and enjoying the festive atmosphere.
December 21 annually
Sometimes referred to as the Winter Festival, New Year of Dong is celebrated by the Dong ethnic group in Guizhou province. The Dong communities come together to celebrate the harvest; wearing traditional dress, they entertain friends and relatives, share food and join the celebrations with Lusheng music, dancing and bullfighting.