Monday, June 9, 2008

You Guessed It...

...It's Another Festival

This one is new this year! Well not new as just been invented no, new as this is the first time that it will be an official day off. In order to avoid the rush around the three golden week*, this year the May holiday was cut short to 1 day (instead of the 3-day holiday) and to make up for the lost day, 3 days off have been added: Mid Autumn festival (中秋节 - zhong1qiu1jie2) mid september, Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节 - Qing1 ming1 jie2) in early April and Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 - Duan Wu Jie) in early June.

Duan Wu Jie which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar is also called Double Fifth. The focus of the celebrations includes eating zongzi (made of glutinous rice stuffec with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves), drinking realgar wine and racing dragon boats (long and narrow human-powered boat).

* Golden Week is the name given to two annual 7-day national holidays, implemented in 2000:
- The "Spring Festival (or Chinese Lunar New Year) Golden Week" begins in January or February.
- The "National Day Golden Week" begins on October 1st.
A third Golden Week holiday, beginning on May 1st and celebrating Labour Day, existed until 2007.
Three days paid holiday are given, and the surrounding weekends were re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies always had seven continuous days of holiday. These national holidays were first started by the government for PRC's National Day in 1999 and are primarily intended to help expand the domestic tourism market and improve the national standard of living, as well as allowing people to make long-distance family visits. The Golden Weeks are consequently periods of greatly heightened travel activity.